Afghan official says 19 people were flogged in northeastern province

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Nineteen people in northeast Afghanistan have been flogged for adultery, robbery and running away from home, a Supreme Court official said Sunday. The announcement underscored the Taliban’s intent to stick to its strict interpretation of Islamic or Sharia law.

It appeared to be the first official confirmation of whipping and flogging taking place in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

During its previous rule in the late 1990s, the group carried out public executions, floggings, and stoning of people convicted of crimes in Taliban courts.

After invading Afghanistan last year, the Taliban initially promised to be more moderate and allow rights for women and minorities. Instead, they have restricted rights and freedoms, including a ban on girls’ education beyond the sixth grade.

On Thursday, a Taliban spokesman said they are committed to implementing all Sharia laws.

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A Supreme Court official, Abdul Rahim Rashid, said 10 men and nine women were flogged 39 times each in the city of Taloqan, in the northeastern province of Takhar, on November 11. He said the punishment was carried out in the presence of elders, scholars and residents at the city’s main mosque after Friday prayers.

Rashid did not provide personal details about the 19 people, such as where they were from or what happened to them after they were flogged. He said his cases were evaluated by two courts before being sentenced, confirming the information in a Supreme Court statement.

The United Nations has said it is increasingly concerned that restrictions on girls’ education, as well as other measures that curtail basic freedoms, will deepen Afghanistan’s economic crisis and lead to further insecurity, poverty and isolation.

Former insurgents have struggled to transition from insurgency and war to government amid an economic downturn and the denial of official recognition by the international community.

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