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Taliban militants carry out first public execution since the group reclaimed Afghanistan

A member of the Taliban security forces stands guard at a checkpoint along a street in Jalalabad, December 6, 2022. AFP via Getty

Islamabad — Taliban authorities on Wednesday executed an Afghan convicted of killing another man, the first public execution since the former insurgents took over Afghanistan last year, a spokesman said. The announcement underscored the intentions by Afghanistan's new rulers to continue hardline policies implemented since they took over the country in August 2021 and to stick to their strict interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.
The execution took place in western Farah province before hundreds of spectators and many top Taliban officials, including from the capital of Kabul and the province, according to Zabihullah Mujahid, the top Taliban government spokesman.
The decision to carry out the punishment was "made very carefully," Mujahid said, following approval by three of the country's highest courts and the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.
The executed man, identified as Tajmir from Herat province, was convicted of killing another man five years ago and stealing his motorcycle and mobile phone. The victim was identified as Mustafa from neighboring Farah province. Many Afghan men use only one name.

Mujahid said Tajmir was executed by the father of the victim, who shot him three times with a rifle. CBS News' Ahmad Mukhtar said Mujahid also posted a voice message, said to be from the victim's mother, on social media, in which the woman can be heard voicing her satisfaction with justice having been served, and the hope that it would prevent future murders.
Taliban security forces had arrested Tajmir after the victim's family accused him of the crime, said a statement from Mujahid, the spokesman. The statement did not say when the arrest took place but said Tajmir had purportedly confessed to the killing.  

Wahid Shah, a local shopkeeper who attended the execution on Wednesday, told CBS News' Sami Yousafzai in a telephone interview that "it was terrifying" and he "left quickly and could not bear to see more."

"We are not against Islamic justice," Shah said, but he accused the Taliban of carrying out extrajudicial killings of "innocent Afghans" outside of the country's Islamic judiciary process.

Journalists in Afghanistan struggle to report under Taliban control 03:20

Another Afghan who was there on Wednesday, a man who asked to be identified as Haji Ahmad, said that as a Muslim, he "believes in such persecution and punishments," but added that there should be a full judicial process "before execution."

"The Taliban are killers and killers can't implement Shariah law," he said.

But a third witness told CBS News that the kind of justice meted out on Wednesday by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers "will stop bloodshed and lawlessness in the society full of weapons."

"In this country, Afghanistan, killing is common," said Abdullab Khan. "Such harsh punishments will stop people from killing, and I am happy. Such people must be publicly executed."

During the previous Taliban rule of the country in the late 1990s, the group routinely carried out public executions, floggings and stoning of those convicted of crimes in Taliban courts.
After they overran Afghanistan in 2021, in the final weeks of the U.S. and NATO forces' pullout from the country after 20 years of war, the Taliban had initially promised to allow for women's and minority rights.

Many Afghans living in fear, one year after U.S. troops withdrew from America's longest war 09:12

Instead, they have restricted rights and freedoms, including imposing a ban on girl's education beyond the sixth grade. They have also resumed carrying out public lashings across different provinces, punishing several men and women accused of theft, adultery or running away from home.
The former insurgents have struggled in their transition from warfare to governing amid an economic downturn and the international community's withholding of official recognition.

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