WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT: New details surrounding the hanging of four men in western Afghanistan have emerged, amid concerns the Taliban will reinforce archaic methods of punishment.
Over the weekend, the Taliban left one dead body hanging from a crane in Herat, days after one of the group's founders said executions and punishments would return.
The body was left hanging in public view in the main square of Herat city, while three others were reportedly moved to other parts of the city to be displayed.
The deputy governor of Herat, Sher Ahmad Ammar, said the men allegedly kidnapped a local businessman and his son and the men intended to take them to the city.
However, the men were seen by patrols and the four kidnappers were killed in gunfire, while a Taliban soldier was also killed, Reuters reported.
The kidnapped victims were not harmed.
"Their bodies were brought to the main square and hung up in the city as a lesson for other kidnappers," Ammar said.
Mohammad Nazir, a Herat resident, was out shopping for food near Mostofiat Square when a loudspeaker announcement called for people's attention.
"When I stepped forward, I saw they had brought a body in a pickup truck, then they hung it up on a crane," he told Reuters.
"The same fate awaits any other kidnappers," the loudspeaker announcement said, according to journalist Charlie Faulkner.
According to Faulkner's Instagram post, which reported on the hangings, the city was brought to a standstill as crowds swarmed around the bodies a the various locations.
Images and footage of the body hanging from the main square in Herat were shared to social media.
"This is the punishment for kidnapping," a sign pinned to his chest reportedly said.
Former Taliban official says brutal punishment to resume
The public display of punishment come just days after Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders of the Taliban, told the Associated Press the group would once again carry out punishments like executions and amputations.
The recent public hangings led journalist Zahra Rahimi of Tolonews to declare "atrocity is back" on Twitter, while another user said the act was "horrific and traumatising"
In the late 1990s, the Taliban's form of punishment was widely condemned around the world.
Sometimes, executions would take place in stadiums for people to watch.
Murderers were usually executed by the victim's family with a single bullet, though the family would have the option of accepting "blood money" if they chose to let the culprit live.
Thieves would have one of their hands amputated, if someone was convicted of highway robbery, a hand and a foot would be amputated.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Turabi suggested unlike the 1990s, when the Taliban last had control of Afghanistan, the punishments perhaps would not be public and defended the group's method of punishment.
“Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” he said.
Since the Taliban overran Kabul on August 15 and seized control of the country, Afghans and the world have been watching to see whether they will re-create their harsh rule of the late 1990s.
The group's leaders remain entrenched in a deeply conservative, hardline worldview, even if they are embracing technological changes such as video and mobile phones.
With Associated Press and Reuters
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