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Taliban carries out second public execution in Afghanistan since seizing power

  • Since assuming power in 2021, Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders have reportedly conducted what is believed to be the second verified instance of a public execution.
  • A man who was convicted of killing five individuals in two separate incidents last year has received a death sentence from the court.
  • Following Islamic law, the execution was conducted outside a mosque in eastern Laghman province, where the son of one of the five men killed by Ajmal carried out the execution using an assault rifle.

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers Tuesday carried out what is believed to be the second confirmed public execution since the religious group took power in 2021, according to the country’s Supreme Court.

The court had sentenced to death a man identified only as Ajmal from the capital Kabul who was found guilty of murdering five people in two separate incidents last year.

The execution was carried out with an assault rifle by the son of Siad Wali, one of five men killed by Ajmal. It took place outside a mosque near the offices of the provincial governor in eastern Laghman province according to Islamic law, the high court said in a statement.

Relatives of the four other men who were killed by Ajmal witnessed the execution.

The latest public execution is likely to draw criticism from the international community. It comes just a month after the United Nations in a report strongly criticized the Taliban for carrying out public executions, lashings and stonings since seizing power, and called on the country’s rulers to halt such practices.

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In May, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in the past six months alone, 274 men, 58 women and two boys were publicly flogged in Afghanistan.

The Taliban-run Supreme Court in Kabul said when the case against Ajmal was brought to the government’s attention, it thoroughly examined and investigated and said three different courts eventually upheld the death sentence.

The court said the final approval for the execution was ordered by Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada after supervising a separate probe into the murder case.

Afghanistan Daily Life

Taliban fighters gather in the late afternoon near Sakhi Shah-e Mardan Shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, on June 19, 2023.  (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Akhundzada was named the Taliban leader in 2016 after a U.S. airstrike in Pakistan killed his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. It was the second known public execution since the Taliban takeover, even though rights groups and the international community have opposed such extreme punishments.

The first was in December last year, when Taliban authorities punished an Afghan convicted of murdering another man. The execution was carried out with an assault rifle by the victim’s father in western Farah province before hundreds of spectators and many top Taliban officials.

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During the previous Taliban rule of the country in the late 1990s, the group regularly carried out public executions, floggings and stonings of people convicted of crimes in Taliban courts.

After they overran Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban initially promised to allow for women’s and minority rights. Instead, they later restricted rights and freedoms, including imposing a ban on girl’s education beyond the sixth grade.

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