Taliban confirms first public lashings for Sharia law violators

The Taliban confirmed this week that they have publicly flogged dozens of people who violated Sharia law, prompting a sharp response from the U.S. officials.

Three women and 11 men were flogged Wednesday after being found guilty of theft and “moral crimes,” a provincial official told Agence France-Presse. 

“The maximum number of lashes for anyone was 39,” Qazi Rafiullah Samim, the head of information and culture for Logar province, south of Kabul, told the AFP.

“Honorable scholars, mujahideen, elders, tribal leaders and local people” were invited to the town’s Pul Alam’s football stadium to witness the floggings, the governor’s office told The Associated Press.

That came after 10 men and nine women were whipped Nov. 11 for adultery, theft and running away from home at a mosque in northeastern Afghanistan, a Supreme Court official said Sunday, according to the AP.

The official said the Nov. 11 lashings took place in front of elders, scholars and residents after Friday prayers. 

“This is both appalling and a dangerous sign that the Taliban are becoming more defiant in showing the world that they are embracing the policies of the past,” tweeted Rina Amiri, the U.S. special envoy for Afghan women, girls and human rights. “It didn’t end up well before & it will once again take the country on a perilous path.”

Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada ordered Afghan judges to impose Sharia-law punishments this month.

There are two types of crimes that Sharia law addresses — hududs and qisas. Hududs are crimes against God that have their punishments outlined in the Koran, which include the amputation of hands and feet, flogging and death.

Qisas are punishments for murders or physical assaults that are determined by a judge.

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