Afghanistan The Taliban stage another public execution as thousands watch.com2F1e2Faa2F5fc9f701668f7e11c40e06f587df2F09f3b870600447b08f70b8e2bec8b6a6

Afghanistan: The Taliban stage another public execution as thousands watch in a stadium

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban carried out a public execution of a man convicted of murder on Monday in front of thousands of spectators at a sports stadium in northern Afghanistan. This is the third such death sentence in the last five days.

The execution took place amid heavy snowfall in the town of Shibirghan, capital of the northern province of Jawzjan, where the murdered man's brother shot the convict five times with a rifle, according to an eyewitness. Security was tight around the stadium, said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

It was also the fifth public execution since the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, as US and NATO troops were in the final weeks of their withdrawal from the country after two decades of war.

The development was ominous because, despite initial promises of more moderate rule, the Taliban began inflicting severe public punishments – executions, floggings and stonings – shortly after they came to power. The punishments are similar to those under their previous rule in Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

Taliban fighters gather near the Sakhi Shah-e Mardan shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, late afternoon, Monday, June 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)This is a location map for Afghanistan with its capital Kabul.  (AP photo)

Taliban government officials were not immediately available for comment.

The statement said Monday's death sentence was carried out after approval from three of the country's highest courts and the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. The executed man, identified as Nazar Mohammad from Bilcheragh district of Faryab province, had killed Khal Mohammad, also from Faryab. The murder took place in Jawzjan.

On Thursday, the Taliban executed two men convicted of stabbing their victims in the southeastern province of Ghazni. Relatives of the victims fired shots at the two men, also in a sports stadium, as thousands of people watched.

Separate statements from the Taliban Supreme Court said a man and a woman convicted of adultery were whipped with 35 lashes each in northern Balkh province over the weekend. Two other people were also whipped in the eastern province of Laghman over the weekend; They each received 30 lashes for alleged immoral acts.

The United Nations has sharply criticized the Taliban for carrying out public executions, floggings and stonings since they seized power and called on the country's rulers to end such practices.