The Associated Press reports on Saturday that the Taliban has begun hanging dead bodies of executed criminals from the main square in Herat city in western Afghanistan, as a gruesome message to the public in order to deter crime and ensure conformity to Islam.
The AP report cited eyewitnesses, including "Wazir Ahmad Seddiqi, who runs a pharmacy on the side of the square" who told the agency that "that four bodies were brought to the main square and three bodies were moved to other parts of the city for public display."
The Taliban claims that the four were killed by police after a kidnapping incident was thwarted. A Taliban police statement said "the four were killed in crossfire" with security forces and a father and son were able to be rescued.
This comes a day after the Taliban confirmed its religious enforcers of public conformity to strict sharia law would once again be enacting corporal punishment akin to the pre-2001 days, including mutilation such as cutting off of hands for certain offenses. A Taliban spokesman and overseer of sharia laws in Afghanistan after the August US pullout, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, explained in the following:
"Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security," he said, saying it had a deterrent effect. He said the Cabinet was studying whether to do punishments in public and will "develop a policy."
In recent days in Kabul, Taliban fighters have revived a punishment they commonly used in the past — public shaming of men accused of small-time theft.
On at least two occasions in the last week, Kabul men have been packed into the back of a pickup truck, their hands tied, and were paraded around to humiliate them.
Turabi further defended the notorious soccer stadiums of death which shocked the globe during the prior Taliban rule over two decades ago. At that time the public would be invited to watch convicts having limbs hacked off, as well as people being shot at point-blank range.
"Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments," the Taliban official told AP further. "No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran."
In the wake of the recent Taliban reconquest of the country, some Western officials including in the Biden administration suggested the hardline Islamist group had "moderated" - however this premature assessment is looking like mere wishful thinking.