The Taliban promised to take a moderate approach when they seized Afghanistan in August 2021, but the regime's latest diktats and actions are testimony to the fact that they want to take the country back to the 90s. The government has again started amputating, lashing, and executing people for petty crimes such as theft and robbery.

In a recent incident reported from Kandahar, the Taliban reportedly cut off the hands of four men convicted of theft and flogged nine men publicly for various crimes at a sports stadium in the city on Tuesday.

Each man received between 35 and 39 lashes in front of officials and religious clerics. However, the authorities did not specify the nature of their crimes.

"In Kandahar, nine criminals were given penal sentences. The sentences were 35 for some of them, and some were given 39," said Haji Zaid, spokesperson for the governor's office in the southern Kandahar province.

According to a report by the Afghan TV channel Tolo News, the men were punished on charges of robbery and sodomy. The images that have gone viral on the internet show the nine men queuing up on the stadium grounds as onlookers watched.

Shabnam Nasimi, a former policy adviser to the minister for Afghan resettlement and the minister for refugees in the UK, has condemned the Taliban's actions stating that the men were not given a fair trial.

"The Taliban have reportedly cut off the hands of four people in a football stadium in Kandahar today, accused of theft, in front of spectators," Nasimi wrote in a Twitter post.

During their rule in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, the group would often execute, shoot, amputate, and flog people publicly for crimes of murder, robbery, and prostitution. Sometimes the bodies of people would be put on display. The Kandahar stadium has witnessed many of these heinous punishments.

According to a report in The New York Times, the first person whose hand was amputated by the Taliban in 1995 was a 14-year-old boy, and his crime was stealing money,

Despite promising a softer approach under its rule this time, the Taliban government has been treating Afghan citizens with immense cruelty.

It has imposed restrictions on their movement, the way they dress, and the way they live and pray. Women are not allowed to attend universities, men and women are not allowed to mix, and all of this is being done in the name of promoting "peace and justice."

Human rights activists, journalists, and Afghan citizens who managed to flee the country after the Taliban's takeover have been urging the world to come to their aid, but to no avail.

Taliban fighters
Taliban fighters on duty in Afghanistan. Photo: AFP / Hoshang Hashimi