An Afghan man convicted of murder was executed in public Wednesday, the Taliban said, the first confirmation of such punishment since the hardline Islamists returned to power. Last month, Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada ordered judges to fully enforce aspects of Islamic law that include public executions, stonings and floggings, and the amputation of limbs from thieves.
READ | Banned from classrooms after Taliban takeover, Afghan girls now permitted to take exam
They have carried out several public floggings since then, but Wednesday’s execution in Farah – the capital of the western province of the same name — is the first the Taliban have acknowledged.
“The supreme court was instructed to implement this order of qisas in a public gathering of compatriots,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, referring to the “eye for an eye” justice in Islamic law.
In a later tweet, Mujahid said the victim’s father had carried out the sentence, shooting the condemned man three times with a Kalashnikov.
READ | US special envoy says Taliban have become more defiant than in past
The statement named the executed man as Tajmir, son of Ghulam Sarwar, and said he was a resident of Anjil district in Herat province.
It said Tajmir had murdered a man, and stolen his motorcycle and cell phone.
“Later, this person was recognised by the heirs of the deceased,” it said, adding he had admitted his guilt.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced “deep concern” about the public execution, spokeswoman Stephanie Tremblay said.
“Our position has never changed. The United Nations is against the death penalty… So we call for a return to the moratorium on the death penalty” in Afghanistan, she said.
READ | US designates 4 militants in Afghanistan, Pakistan in list of global terrorists
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said “despicable” public executions break Taliban promises to the world.
“This indicates to us that the Taliban seek a return to their regressive and abusive practices of the 1990s,” Price said.