Stoning adulterers again in Afghanistan?

Reader Norm sent me this shocking news report that the government of president Hamid Karzai is considering re-introducing the practice of stoning adulterers in public in Afghanistan, an abomination that occurred under the rule of the Taliban but was mercifully halted after they were overthrown.

Death by stoning for convicted adulterers is being written into Afghan law, a senior official said on Monday, the latest sign that human rights won at great cost since the Taliban were ousted in 2001 are rolling back as foreign troops withdraw.

“We are working on the draft of a sharia penal code where the punishment for adultery, if there are four eyewitnesses, is stoning,” said Rohullah Qarizada, who is part of the sharia Islamic law committee working on the draft and head of the Afghan Independent Bar Association.

During the Taliban’s 1996-2001 time in power, convicted adulterers were routinely shot or stoned in executions held mostly on Fridays. Women were not permitted to go out on their own, girls were barred from schools and men were obliged to grow long beards.

Providing fresh evidence popular support for the brutal punishment has endured, two lovers narrowly escaped being stoned in Baghlan province north of Kabul, but were publicly shot over the weekend instead, officials said.

“While they were fleeing, suddenly their car crashed and locals arrested them. People wanted to stone them on the spot but some elders disagreed,” the provincial head of women’s affairs, Khadija Yaqeen, told Reuters on Monday.

“The next day they decided and shot both of them dead in public. Our findings show that the woman’s father had ordered to shoot both man and woman.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that unmarried people who have sex will be merely flogged.

It is possible that the government is trying to pander to the religious extremists while trying to make actual carrying out of this practice highly unlikely by requiring four eyewitnesses to the adultery.

But even if that were true, such thinking is too clever by half. The fact is that people who are powerful enough or hateful enough can find people willing to lie that they witnessed such acts, especially if they think they are doing to honor their god by punishing outlawed sex.

When one thinks about it, much of religion has less to do with god and more with preventing people from having sex except in narrow situations where the men get to control and decide. Take away the drive to eliminate any form of sexual pleasure and the domination of women and traditional religions would become mere shadows of their former selves.


  1. thewhollynone says

    Afghanistan– once we leave that place it will revert to the Stone Age. It will once again become a haven for criminals, and we, or somebody, will have to go back into those mountains and try to pacify the criminal element. The Russians couldn’t do it, and we couldn’t do it; maybe the Chinese will have better luck.

  2. oualawouzou says

    It is Afghans that have the power to “pacify the criminal element”, not the Russians, the Americans or the Chinese.

  3. Trebuchet says

    @1: The British couldn’t do it either.

    And don’t forget this is a culture which assumes rape victims to be guilty of adultery.

  4. Jockaira says

    It is possible that the government is trying to pander to the religious extremists while trying to make actual carrying out of this practice highly unlikely by requiring four eyewitnesses to the adultery.

    Not likely. Even giving the government the benefit of doubt, Sharíah law based on the Qur’ân and the Sunnah of Mohammed has been interpreted to allow stoning to death for adulterers to be applied where there is incontrovertible evidence of illicit sex or self-admission of such. The four-witness rule was proclaimed by Mohammed himself in an instant revelation from Allâh to protect his favorite wife Ayesha from the community’s wrath at her spending the night alone with one of Mohammed’s warriors after being mistakenly left behind during an encampment move.

    A couple of years ago in Somalia a 13-year-old girl, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, returning from her grandmother’s house was gang-raped by three men. She complained to civil authorities, at the time, Al Shabab, who found her guilty of adultery and sentenced her under their version of Islamic law to death by stoning. She was executed by community members in a soccer stadium attended by about a thousand spectators and Al Shabab officials. During the spectacle three spectators protesting the execution as illegal and un-Islamic were shot and killed by Al Shabab guards. The three rapists had been apprehended by Al Shabab, questioned, and released with no actions taken against them though they admitted the rapes.

    Al Shabab is only another name for the Taliban. There have been and will be similar incidents in Afghanistan until the influence of literal Islam is eliminated. If you haven’t forgotten yet, the Taliban is the same organisation that sent an assassin to kill another 13-year-old girl, Malala Yousafsai, for proclaiming that Pakistani girls had a right to education along with Pakistani boys. She got a bullet in the brain for her belief.

    Religion poisons everything!— Christopher Hutchins

  5. Jockaira says

    Thanks for the correction. I always have this problem with unSt. Christopher, I ve had a couple of girl friends named Hudgens and of course there is Robert Maynard Hutchins of Chicago U.

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