Three women among dozen publicly flogged in Afghanistan

Taliban fighters hold the flags of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in August 2022.

Twelve people, including three women, were flogged in front of thousands of spectators at a soccer stadium in Afghanistan.

The group engaged in “moral crimes” including adultery, robbery and gay sex, a Taliban official told the BBC.

This is believed to be the second time in a month that the Islamist group has committed public whipping.

The move could mark a return to the harsh practices of the previous Taliban regime in the 1990s.

Omar Mansoor Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman for the Logar region of eastern Afghanistan, where the whipping took place, said all three women were released after being punished. Some of the men were jailed, he said, but it’s not clear how many.

The men and women each received between 21 and 39 lashes. The maximum number a person can receive is 39, another Taliban official said.

Nineteen people were also punished last week in a similar flogging in northern Afghanistan’s Takhar province, reports say.

The flogging in Logar province comes a week after Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada ordered judges to hand down sentences for certain crimes in line with the group’s strict reading of Islamic Sharia law.

This interpretation of Islamic law includes public executions, public amputations and stoning – although exact crimes and associated punishments have not been officially defined by the Taliban.

The Supreme Leader’s order is the latest sign that the Taliban are taking a tougher stance on rights and freedoms; after promising to rule more moderately when they came to power last year.

During their rule from 1996-2001, the Taliban were convicted of regularly carrying out public punishments, including floggings and executions at the national stadium in Kabul.

The government also vowed not to repeat the brutal oppression of women; but since the group’s return to rule, women’s freedoms have been severely curtailed and a number of women have been beaten for demanding rights.

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