Taliban cry for justice, say executions barbaric

November 15, 2008

Afghanistan’s Taliban are appealing to the United Nations, the European Union and the Red Cross to stop President Hamid Karzai from carrying out executions of people on death row, many of them their fighters.

They don’t think the Afghan judicial system is fair, according to a statement by the hardline Islamist group. The UN and the EU have asked Karzai to halt the executions. 

Obviously, the irony is inescapable. During their years in power, the Taliban carried out summary trials followed by public executions or amputations of limbs for lesser crimes such as stealing.

I happened to visit the soccer stadium in Kabul in September where the executions were carried out and witnessed by men, women and even children. The caretaker told me there was a belief that so much blood had spilled onto the grounds and seeped into the soil that they had difficulty growing the grass again.

So has the Taliban had a change of heart? Doesn’t seem too likely, given what has been happening in recent months. This week, a group of young girls had acid sprayed on their faces on their way to school in Kandahar. Their attackers came on motorbikes, pulled off their headscarves, and sprayed  the acid using toy pistols.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack, but the finger was pointed at Taliban who are strongly opposed to education for girls, believing their place to be at home.

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