A man in Afghanistan was executed Wednesday in southwestern Afghan Provence Farah in a sports stadium, according to a Taliban spokesperson.
According to BBC News, the man was executed after being accused of committing a murder five years ago, marking the first public execution by the Taliban since the group retook control of Afghanistan in August 2021.
The Taliban said the executed man was named Tajmir, and he was accused of stabbing a man named Mustafa to death five years ago, as well as stealing his victim’s motor bike and cellphone. He was convicted in three Taliban courts before sentencing and was executed via assault rifle and shot by the victim’s father.
Dozens of Taliban leaders and top Taliban government ministers reportedly attended the execution, and a public notice was circulated which advertised the event and asked “all citizens to join us in the sport field.”
Mustafa’s mother told the BBC that the Taliban came to her and asked her to forgive Tajmir, but she refused and insisted that he be executed as a lesson to others.
In November, the Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada ordered Afghan judges to impose punishments that correspond with the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law. Punishments include stoning, public amputations and executions, but the BBC reports that the Taliban has not defined the crimes and the corresponding punishments that fall under this new order.
During the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan between 1996 to 2001, it was consistently denounced for human rights violations and regularly carrying out public executions or violent punishments. Since taking control of the country following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in August of 2021, the Taliban has appeared to be less heavy-handed, but the new order from the group’s supreme leader could see the attitude change.
Several public floggings have recently been reported in the country. The BBC reports that in November, a dozen people, including three women, were publicly flogged in front of thousands in a football stadium in the Logar region. A Taliban official told the news organization that the group was guilty of committing “moral crimes,” including adultery, robbery and gay sex. The three women were released after being punished, but some of the men were jailed. Taliban spokesperson Oman Mansoor Muhajid said that those punished received anywhere between 21 and 39 lashes.
A similar mass flogging occurred a week prior in the Takhar region.
After retaking control, the Taliban and the new government said they would not continue the strict repression of women the group became known for in the 1990s and early 2000s, but women’s rights and freedoms have been steadily restricted over the last year.