Eye for an Eye? Taliban Executes Two Murder Convicts in Football Stadium As Thousands of Spectators Watch

This marks the third and fourth instances of death penalties carried out since the Taliban's return to power

In a solemn and chilling display of justice, Taliban authorities conducted public executions of two men convicted of murder in a football stadium located in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday. The executions, witnessed by thousands of men gathered at the Ghazni city stadium, marked a stark implementation of the Taliban's interpretation of Islamic law.

Taliban executes 2

According to reports from an AFP journalist present at the scene, the condemned men faced death by multiple gunshots to the back following the reading of their death warrants by Supreme Court official Atiqullah Darwish. These warrants were signed by Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, underscoring the gravity with which the Taliban administration enforces its judicial rulings.

"These two people were convicted of the crime of murder... after two years of trial in the courts of the country, the order has been signed," Darwish stated during the execution proceedings.

Despite the presence of families representing the victims of the convicted men, who were given the opportunity to grant a last-minute reprieve, they declined to do so in both cases.

The executions shed light on the stringent legal system imposed by the Taliban, which has not gained official recognition from any other government since its ascent to power in 2021. Under the Taliban's austere interpretation of Islam, judges have been instructed to implement all aspects of Islamic law, including punishments such as "eye for an eye," as commanded by Akhundzada in 2022.

Islamic law, or Sharia, serves as a guiding principle for Muslims worldwide, covering various aspects of life including matters of morality, finance, and criminal justice. However, interpretations of Sharia vary widely depending on cultural, regional, and religious factors.

The Taliban's approach to Sharia in Afghanistan reflects one of the most extreme interpretations, incorporating harsh penalties including public executions and regular floggings for crimes such as theft, adultery, and alcohol consumption.

This latest display of justice marks the third and fourth instances of death penalties carried out since the Taliban's return to power. The previous execution occurred in June 2023 in Laghman province, where a convicted murderer was publicly shot in front of a crowd of approximately 2,000 people.

The reintroduction of public executions and strict Sharia-based policies by the Taliban government has drawn widespread criticism from governments, international organizations, and aid agencies, leading to a reduction in funding and exacerbating the already fragile economy of Afghanistan.