A Taliban judge has spoken of the horrific deaths that will be inflicted on gay people as Sharia law returns to Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US and Nato troops.
The fundamentalist Islamist militia was forced from power when US-led forces invaded in 2001, but are now reported to be retaking many districts as foreign troops retreat.
The Taliban claim they have already taken over 80 per cent of the country; while this is likely an exaggeration, the BBC Afghan service estimates that around a third of Afghanistan is indeed under Taliban control, with strict Sharia law punishments reimposed throughout these areas.
“That was our goal and always will be,” said Gul Rahim, a Taliban judge who spoke frankly about his vision of justice to the German newspaper Bild.
His face remained impassive as he detailed the shockingly cruel penalties for gay people in Taliban territory. “There are only two penalties for gays: Either stoning or he has to stand behind a wall that falls on him. The wall must be 2.5 to 3 meters high,” he said.
The death penalty for homosexuals is derived from interpretations of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, and the Hadith, the accounts of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.
The accounts differ on the method of killing, while some suggest lesser penalties for homosexual acts, depending on the circumstances.
These lesser penalties are commonly meted out in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, where LGBT+ people are often punished with public flogging – but even countries with the strictest interpretations of Sharia law pale in comparison to Taliban rule.
Taliban making significant gains against Afghanistan government, reports say
Speaking about a recent case he adjudicated, Rahim said one man was found to have stolen a ring from a house – so he ordered that his hand be cut off.
“I asked the owner of the ring if he would also ask that the thief’s leg be hacked off because he not only stole the ring but broke in, which means that he had committed two crimes,” he added.
“But the owner of the house agreed that only the hand would be chopped off.”
Recalling another recent judgement, he said he’d ordered that a gang caught kidnapping and smuggling people should be hanged.
“Depending on the crime, we can start with fingertips or fingers. For worse offences, we cut the wrist, elbow, or upper arm. Death by stoning or hanging is the only option for the greatest crimes,” he said.
BBC reports from Afghanistan say ongoing fighting means that the situation on the ground is fluid and it is hard to determine which areas are now under Sharia law, but it is clear the Taliban are making significant gains against the government.
With the US now fearing Kabul could fall within months, Rahim seemed confident of victory. “If the government in Kabul introduces our Islamic Sharia, we will not attack them further,” he told Bild.