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today's taliban

Taliban official says executions will return: 'No one will tell us what our laws should be'

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, a founder of the Taliban who is now in charge of Afghanistan's prisons, told The Associated Press that while the strict Islamist group has "changed from the past," they will once again carry out executions and amputations.

During the Taliban's previous rule in the 1990s, Turabi was the justice minister and head of the group that effectively served as Afghanistan's religious police. Executions and amputations were held in public places — convicted murderers were shot in the head by a member of their victim's family, while convicted thieves and highway robbers lost hands and sometimes feet.

"Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we never said anything about their laws and their punishments," Turabi told AP. "No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran." He added that "cutting off of hands is very necessary for security," as it deters others from stealing, and the Taliban is working to "develop a policy" on whether amputations and executions should again be done in public.

AP reports that this week, Taliban fighters in Kabul carried out a punishment that they used previously, involving publicly humiliating men accused of minor theft. During at least two occasions, men were put in the back of a truck and driven around the city — in one case, some of the men's faces were painted, and in the other, they had stale bread stuffed in their mouths, AP says.

Turabi is a hardliner, and in the 1990s, he ripped cassettes out of car radios, had his underlings beat men who trimmed their beards, and slapped a man who objected to him screaming at a woman journalist. Today, he said, the Taliban has "changed from the past." Afghan citizens will be able to have televisions, cell phones, and take photos and videos, he added, "because this is the necessity of the people, and we are serious about it."