Taliban official tells longtime Afghanistan correspondent harsh punishments will return

When journalist Kathy Gannon met the Taliban’s Mullah Nooruddin Turabi in 1996, he screamed at her to go away the room.

Gannon, the Related Press’s information director for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was interviewing academics about educating ladies and ladies, and why they thought the Taliban, who had not too long ago come to energy, have been against it.

“He walked in and he was livid to see a woman talking to a bunch of men. And all he did was just scream at me, ‘Get out!’ in Pashto,” she recalled. 

One of the men got up to explain what they were doing and that they were just having this discussion about education. And he just hauled off, just pulled his hand back and just really hit the fellow and knocked him back down.”

However final week, Gannon met Turabi once more, who’s now the Taliban’s chief of prisons and a member of the cupboard, to interview him concerning the militant group’s plans for Afghanistan.

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AP journalist Kathy Gannon not too long ago interviewed a senior Taliban official, and located that whereas the group is raring to embrace new know-how, they’re additionally promising the return of harsh punishments, together with executions and amputations. (Martin Meissner/Related Press)

There certainly were changes. He was speaking to a woman, which he would never have done before. He did allow a photograph of himself, which he would never have done before,” Gannon informed As It Occurs host Carol Off.

So there are changes. The question I think, though, is more about how likely they are to be widespread. How are they going to actually play out in terms of women’s education, working?” she stated.

Harsh punishments to return

Many Afghans fled the nation because the Taliban swept again into energy in August, fearing the return of harsh guidelines, in addition to punishments together with amputations of fingers and even executions.

After talking with Turabi, Gannon stated she believes the Taliban have modified in some methods and are embracing know-how, permitting TVs and smartphones, particularly if it helps them push their agenda.

“It was clear that he understood the value of photographs, the value of social media to get their message out. But I’m not sure the message itself has changed,” she stated. 

That message is a strict interpretation of the Qur’an. Turabi informed Gannon that harsh punishments, together with executions and amputations of fingers, would return, although there was dialogue over whether or not the measures can be carried out in public as they’d been previously. 

On Saturday, the Taliban hung a useless physique from a crane parked in a sq. within the metropolis of Herat, and stated the person had taken half in a kidnapping and was killed by police.

“The reality is, is they understand that the world was outraged,” she stated. “So that’s something that they are looking at. How do they continue with what they want to do and how they want to do it, without engendering that public outrage?”

Turabi informed Gannon that if the punishments have been made public, individuals could possibly report and flow into movies and images of them as a deterrent. He additionally stated that the Taliban would permit ladies to be judges to adjudicate instances that would see these harsh punishments meted out.  

Girls collect to demand their rights below the Taliban rule throughout a protest in Kabul on Sept. 3, 2021. When the Taliban dominated Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, they enforced a harsh interpretation of Islam, barring women and girls from colleges and public life, and brutally suppressing dissent. (Wali Sabawoon/The Related Press)

Function of girls unsure

The Taliban have stated that girls and ladies will have the ability to entry training, however a strict gown code would apply, and college students should adhere to Shariah legislation.

“I think from [Turabi’s] perspective, there will be women going to school,” stated Gannon. “But it still remains to be seen how they actually implement that and how quickly they do.”

Abdul Baqi Haqqani, the Taliban’s new minister of upper training stated earlier this month that girls might nonetheless attend college, however they’d be segregated from males. However the brand new chancellor of Kabul College, appointed by the Taliban, stated Monday that girls would not be allowed to go to attend universities or work till an “Islamic environment” is created, based on NPR. 

The Taliban has additionally banned sports activities for ladies, and lots of athletes and their households have left the nation.

Gannon famous that she spoke not too long ago with a girl in Afghanistan who competes in tae kwon do. 

“She was saying, ‘You know, the problem is that 80 per cent of Afghan men are not going to fight for the rights of women,'” Gannon stated.

“We were in a store chatting and I looked over at the storekeeper and I said, ‘Is that true?'” she stated. “He nodded and he said, ‘Unfortunately.’ So, you know, it’s a difficult and complicated situation for women.”


Written by Andrea Bellemare with information from Related Press. Interview produced by Katie Geleff.