Although public executions were more common during the Taliban’s first rule from 1996-2001, the first they carried out since returning to power was in December last year in Farah province.
Kabul: A convicted murderer was shot dead Tuesday in the grounds of a mosque in provincial Afghanistan, officials said, the second public execution since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021.
“He was executed in public in the town of Sultan Ghazi Baba, centre of Laghman province, so that he could suffer and become a lesson for others,” said a statement from provincial information officers.
Although public executions were common during the Taliban’s first rule from 1996 to 2001, the only other one they have carried out since returning to power was in December last year in Farah province.
There have been regular public floggings for other crimes, however, including theft, adultery and alcohol consumption.
Officials named the murderer as “Ajmal, son of Naseem”, adding he had killed five people.
An official at the provincial information and culture department told AFP around 2,000 people watched the execution — including relatives of Ajmal’s victims — and that the sentence and execution were carried out in accordance with sharia law.
Afghanistan’s Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhunzada last year ordered judges to fully implement all aspects of sharia — including qisas punishment, which equates to “an eye-for-an-eye”.
“I saw the criminal being executed for qisas after the victim’s family did not forgive him,” a witness to Tuesday’s execution told AFP.
“He was shot, if I didn’t count it wrong, six times. I could not see if he was dead or not, but he was later taken by ambulance,” said the witness, who asked not to be named.
A provincial official said Ajmal was shot with an AK-47 by an executioner rather than a relative of the victims, which qisas allows.
‘A lot of fear’
In the execution carried out in Farah in December, the father of the murder victim pulled the trigger himself on his son’s killer.
“For such crimes it is good that people should see and always have the fear before doing such inhuman acts,” Tuesday’s witness told AFP.
“There was a lot of fear. It was very emotional. We are not used to such things.”
In a statement, Afghanistan’s Supreme Court said all avenues of appeal had been exhausted in Ajmal’s case, and the final decision to carry out the execution was made by the Supreme Leader.
“Extraordinary research was done by the Supreme Leader and it was discussed with the scholars in a big gathering,” the statement said.
“At the end, the order of qisas for the murderer was approved and the order of implementation of qisas was given.”
It said Ajmal had killed five people “in two phases”. He shot dead four people at a house in Laghman province, before killing another man elsewhere.
It was not clear when the murders happened.