Taliban Chief Defends Islamic Criminal Justice System, Including Stoning Women for Adultery

The leader of Afghanistan’s fundamentalist Taliban government has said it is determined to enforce the Islamic criminal justice system, including the public stoning of women for adultery.

“Our mission is to enforce sharia and Allah’s Hudud [law],” said Hibatullah Akhundzada in an audio clip Taliban officials said was from his latest speech.

They did not say where the reclusive leader spoke, but Akhundzada lives in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar and rarely leaves what is known as the Taliban’s historical birthplace and political headquarters.

He primarily addressed Western critics of the Taliban government, which Akhundzada is effectively controlling from Kandahar, through edicts based on his strict interpretation of Islam.

“You may call it a violation of women’s rights when we publicly stone or flog them for committing adultery because they conflict with your democratic principles,” said the Taliban chief.

“Just as you claim to be striving for the freedom of entire humanity, so do I. I represent Allah, and you represent Satan,” Akhundzada said.

He criticized Western human rights values and women’s freedoms, saying Taliban religious scholars would persistently resist the West and its form of democracy in Afghanistan. “Thanks to these scholars, such a democracy was evicted from this land,” the Taliban leader said.

The Taliban returned to power in August 2021, when the then-internationally backed government collapsed, and U.S.-led Western nations withdrew all their troops after nearly 20 years of involvement in the Afghan war.



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