WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday that Washington condemns in the strongest terms reported comments by a Taliban official who said the group would restore the use of amputations and executions as punishment in Afghanistan.
Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders of the Taliban, said the hard-line movement will once again carry out punishments like executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public.
Turabi was justice minister and head of the religious police when the Taliban were last in power in the 1990s. At that time, convicted murderers were killed by a single gunshot to the head and convicted thieves had their hands amputated. The punishments were usually carried out before large crowds at a stadium or mosque.
Turabi, now in charge of prisons, said such punishments will return during a rare interview with The Associated Press this week.
“Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi told The Associated Press, speaking in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran.”
Briefing reporters by phone, Price responded to Turabi’s comments, saying the punishments “would constitute clear gross abuses of human rights.”
“We stand firm with the international community to hold perpetrators of these, of any such abuses, accountable,” Price said.
Washington has said any potential recognition of the new Taliban-led government in Kabul, which replaced the Western-backed government that collapsed last month, would depend on respect for human rights,
“We are watching very closely,” Price said, “and not just listening to the announcements that come out but watching very closely as the Taliban conducts itself.”
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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.