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Taliban Supreme Leader Stresses Enforcement of Strict Sharia Law in Afghanistan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Taliban supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, says that they will continue to enforce strict Sharia law in Afghanistan, including punishing and stoning women in public.

In a audio clip shared by the Taliban-controlled National Radio and Television of Afghanistan (RTA) on Sunday, March 24, the Taliban leader mentioned that the implementation of Sharia law in Afghanistan might not be in favor of Western countries or might be viewed as contrary to “their democracy.” However, he emphasized his intention to enforce Islamic Hudud (penalties that include the amputation of hands and feet, flogging, and death) in the country. 

“You view the act of stoning as a violation of women’s rights. In the near future, we plan to implement the punishment for adultery, which includes publicly stoning and flogging women,” he said, pointing toward Western countries. “The enforcement of Allah’s Hudud contradicts your democracy, you may debate our action,” he added. 

“Just as you strive to save and liberate humanity, so do I. You represent Satan, and I represent God. As Allah says, ‘The party of Allah will prevail,'” the Taliban supreme leader said. 

Shortly after coming to power, the Taliban, despite initial promises of a more moderate rule, began carrying out strict Islamic punishments in public. These included executions, floggings, and stoning, similar to those during their previous stint in power in the late 1990s.

During the last two years, the Taliban publicly flogged dozens of people, including women, in the provinces of Kabul, Herat, Bayman, Sar-e Pol, Balkh, and Laghman on the charges of “relationship outside marriage, immorality, and adultery.”

In a report last year, the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented the use of several forms of corporal punishment by the Taliban. The report found that the Taliban has used a variety of forms of corporal punishment, including lashings, stoning, beatings, forcing people to stand in cold water, and forced head shaving.

The report highlighted that within a span of just six months, a total of 276 men, 58 women, and two boys were publicly flogged, receiving up to 40 lashes per convicted person, but 80-100 lashes in some cases.

The act of physically and publicly punishing individuals by the Taliban has drawn significant criticism from the UN and global human rights groups including Amnesty International. But the regime justifies its actions as adherence to Islamic Sharia laws.

Human rights organizations say that the Taliban courts do not adhere to fair trial procedures and standard legal practices, with accused individuals denied the right to legal representation for their defense in these courts.

In the video clip, the Taliban supreme leader also said that the war between the regime and Western countries has not yet come to an end. “We are telling the West that we have battled with you for twenty years, and we are prepared to continue fighting for another twenty years and beyond,” he said. 

Akhundzada’s recent statements have sparked widespread criticism from Afghan political figures. Naseer Ahmad Faiq, the Chargé d’Affaires of Afghanistan Permanent Mission to the UN, says that profiting from the blood of the Afghan people is unacceptable and forbidden in Islam.

“At what cost? For over two decades, under this slogan, thousands of innocent Afghans, including brainwashed Taliban, have been killed, the country destroyed, millions forced to migrate, and Afghanistan plunged into a deep crisis. Isn’t that enough?” he said.