Explained: What The Taliban Regime Means By Calling For Full Implementation Of Islamic Law?

Apart from public executions, stonings and floggings, and the amputation of limbs for thieves, Afghan women have been banned from parks, gyms, public baths and more

Afghan women chant and hold signs while staging a protest in Kabul

Afghanistan's supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada has ordered judges to fully implement aspects of Islamic law that include public executions, stonings and floggings, and the amputation of limbs for thieves, the Taliban's chief spokesman said. 

Akhundzada, who has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August last year, rules by decree from Kandahar, the movement's birthplace and spiritual heartland.

The Taliban promised a softer version of the harsh rule that characterised their first stint in power, from 1996-2001, but have gradually clamped down on rights and freedoms. "Carefully examine the files of thieves, kidnappers and seditionists," Mujahid quoted Akhundzada as saying.

What Islamic Law means, encompasses

Zabihullah Mujahid, Spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, tweeted late Sunday that the "obligatory" command by came after the secretive leader met with a group of judges. The tweet read: His Highness Amir al-Mu'minin in a meeting with the judges: - Carefully examine the files of thieves, kidnappers and seditionists. - Those files in which all the Shariah conditions of Hadad and Qisas have been fulfilled, you are obliged to implement Hadad and Qisas. Because this is the ruling of Sharia and my command which is obligatory.

Hudud: The term stands for different offences and their types of punishment mandated under Islamic law. These crimes include adultery (and falsely accusing someone of it), drinking alcohol, theft, kidnapping, highway robbery, apostasy and rebellion.

Qisas: This term translates as retaliation in kind, effectively an eye for an eye. It includes murder and deliberate injury, but also allows for families of the victims to accept compensation in lieu of punishment.

Crimes that are meted out a hudud punishment require a very high degree of proof, especially in the case of adultery, which calls for confession or witness by four adult male Muslims.

In the past 15 months after the Taliban came to power, videos and pictures have been circulating on social media of Taliban fighters publically flogging people accused of various offenses. At times, the bodies of kidnappers killed in Taliban shootouts are publically displayed.

There are increasing reports of adulterers getting flogged in rural areas after Friday prayers, but these updates are yet to be verified.

Implications on Women’s Rights

After the Taliban takeover, a number of hard-won rights by women and feminists have vanished. The main issue: Women are increasingly being squeezed out of public life.

On November 13, the Taliban banned women from gyms and public baths. Gyms have been closed for women because their trainers were male and some gyms were common for men and women. Hammams or traditional public bathing houses, traditionally segregated by sex, have also been restricted for women. “Currently, every house has a bathroom in it, so it won’t be any issue for the women," the Taliban official said.

Women inside the locker room of a gym can be seen protesting before a Taliban official in a video circulated on social media.

A week before, women were breed entry from a Kabul amusement park that offers rides such as bumper cars and a Ferris wheel. Witnesses reported seeing several women being turned away by park officials under the supervision of Taliban agents. 

In light of these Taliban restrictions, women in Herat city took to the streets. A video from the demonstration shows protesters holding placards and raising slogans.

Small groups of women have staged frequent flash protests in Kabul and other major cities, risking the wrath of Taliban officials who have beaten and detained them.

Most women government workers have lost their jobs or are being paid a pittance to discourage them so they change their minds and stay at home. Women are now barred from travelling without a male relative. They must cover up with a burqa or hijab whenever the need arises to leave the home.