The Taliban rulers in Afghanistan put on public display the bodies of four men who were killed by police after they allegedly took part in a kidnapping. The Taliban hanged one of the dead bodies from a crane parked in a city square in the western city of Herat. The three others were taken to other parts of the city to be displayed publicly.
One resident tells Reuters he was out shopping for food when he suddenly heard an announcer over a loudspeaker demanding 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 said. Footage of the corpse hanging from the crane with a note pinned to his chest saying “This is the punishment for kidnapping” was shared widely on social media.
The four men allegedly kidnapped a local businessman and his son and tried to take them out of the city. The men were seen by police that set up checkpoints around Herat. Gunfire was exchanged and all the kidnappers were killed while a Taliban soldier was injured. Taliban leaders said the action was meant to send a message. “The aim of this action is to alert all criminals that they are not safe,” a Taliban commander told the Associated Press.
The public display of the bodies appears to provide one more piece of evidence that the Taliban is returning to its hardline ways that included public stonings and the amputations of limbs of alleged criminals. In an interview with the Associated Press earlier this week, a senior Taliban leader said the country’s new leaders would once again amputate limbs and carry out executions. That immediately led to international condemnation and warnings from the State Department that these types of actions “would constitute clear gross abuses of human rights.” U.S. officials have said that a potential international recognition of the new Taliban-led Afghan government would depend on respect for human rights. “We are watching very closely,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday, “and not just listening to the announcements that come out but watching very closely as the Taliban conducts itself.”