The Afghan Supreme Leader orders the full implementation of Islamic law

The Taliban spokesman said Afghanistan’s supreme leader had ordered judges to impose full implementation of aspects of Islamic law, including public executions, stoning, flogging and amputations for thieves.

Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted late Sunday that Hebatullah Akhundzadeh’s “forced” order came after the undercover commander met with a group of judges.

Akhundzada, who has not been photographed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August last year, rules by decree from Kandahar, the movement’s birthplace and spiritual stronghold.

The Taliban promised a softer version of the harsh rule that marked their first period in power, from 1996-2001, but gradually emphasized rights and freedoms.

Mujahid quoted Akhundzadeh as saying, “He carefully examined the files of the thieves, the kidnappers and the inspectors.”

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“Those files in which all the Sharia conditions for hudud and qisas have been met, you are obligated to implement them.

“This is the rule of the Sharia and my command is obligatory.”

Mujahid was unavailable on Monday to expand on his tweet.

Hadd refers to crimes for which, under Islamic law, certain types of punishment are imposed, while qisas is translated as “revenge in kind” – that is, an eye for an eye.

Hadd crimes include adultery — falsely accusing someone — drinking, robbery, kidnapping, highway robbery, apostasy, and rebellion.

Retribution covers murder and intentional injury, among other things, but also allows victims’ families to accept compensation rather than punishment.

Islamic scholars say that crimes that lead to the hudud punishment require a very high degree of proof, including – in the case of adultery – a confession, or to be witnessed by four adult Muslim men.

– skin summary –

Social media has been flooded for more than a year – and even recently – with videos and photos of Taliban fighters summarily flogging people accused of various crimes.

Several times the Taliban also publicly displayed the bodies of the kidnappers, who they said were killed in an exchange of fire.

There have also been reports of adulterers being flogged in rural areas after Friday prayers, but independent verification is difficult to obtain.

Rahima Popalzai, a legal and political analyst, said the fatwa could be an attempt by the Taliban to cement a reputation they may feel has softened since their return to power.

“If they really start applying hudud and qisas, they will aim to create the fear that society has gradually lost,” she told AFP.

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She added that the Taliban also wanted to burnish its Islamic credentials.

“As a theocratic setup, the Taliban wants to strengthen its religious identity among Muslim countries.”

Women in particular have seen their hard-won rights fade in the past 15 months, and are increasingly being pushed out of public life.

Most female government workers have lost their jobs — or are paid a pittance to stay at home — while women are also prohibited from traveling without a male relative and must cover up with a burqa or headscarf when leaving the house.

Last week, the Taliban also banned women from entering parks, amusement parks, gyms and public baths.

During their initial rule, the Taliban regularly carried out public punishments – including floggings and executions in the national stadium.

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