Executions and Amputations Will Resume in Afghanistan, Says Mullah Turabi

Nooruddin Turabi, a former Taliban justice minister and co-founder of the Taliban, says executions and amputations will be resumed. According to him, such punishment may not be carried out in public.

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi made the remarks in an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, September 23, adding that he doesn’t accept public criticism of the Taliban’s public executions in the past, which frequently took place at Kabul Stadium. He also warned the international community against interfering in the affairs of Afghanistan’s new rulers.

“Everyone criticized us for executing people in the stadium, but we never said anything about their own penal codes,” Turabi told the Associated Press. “No one will tell us what our laws should be like. We follow Islam and make our laws based on the Qur’an.”

The international community has not yet recognized the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan. The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had said that his government doesn’t recognize the Taliban government in the near future, adding that dialogues should continue with the Taliban to examine their intentions. Mr. Raab also expressed that in dealing with the Taliban, recognition of their rule was not involved. According to him, the Taliban will be judged on their words and deeds. In the meantime, the US State Department has also said that it is not yet the time for the Taliban government to be recognized.

Meanwhile, Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban and Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, has called on the world to recognize the Taliban government. Mr. Mujahid has recently said that the new cabinet, once recognized by the international community, will pave the way for an investigation into allegations of human rights abuses. “If we are not recognized and they continue to criticize us, it is zero-sum approach,” Mujahid said. “It would be better if the international community treats us properly and recognizes our current government. Then they can legally share any concerns they have, and we will address their concerns.”

In recent days, however, in Kabul and some provinces, Taliban fighters have resumed the punishments commonly used by them in the past. The punishment includes publicly blackening the faces of the defendants without a court order. Last week, images were posted on social media showing a person accused of robbery with a blackened face exposed to the public.

Nooruddin Turabi has said that this time judges, including women, will hear cases, but that the fundamentals of the Afghan laws will be the Qur’an. He added that previous Taliban punishments would be revived. “Amputation of arms and/or legs is essential for security,” the Taliban official stressed. According to Turabi, the cabinet is considering whether the punishments should be carried out publicly or not. “We are looking for a solution.”

Turabi lost a leg and an eye in a battle against former Soviet forces in the 1980s. He is now in charge of the prisoners in the new Taliban government. According to him, the Taliban are now allowing people to use television, mobile phones, pictures, and videos because people need to use these things. He stressed that the Taliban see the media as a way to spread their message. “We now understand that instead of hundreds, we can reach millions of people,” he added.

He said that if the punishments are made public, people might be allowed to film and photograph the scenes to increase the deterrent effects.

Human rights defenders have not yet responded to Nooruddin Turabi’s remarks. In the late 1990s, however, the international community had condemned the Taliban’s brutal executions, which were often took place publicly at Kabul’s sports stadium or at the Eidgah Mosque.