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In a direct message to Western democracies, the Taliban’s supreme leader over the weekend said his government would officially re-implement the practice of stoning women to death for adultery.

“You say it’s a violation of women’s rights when we stone them to death,” Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada said in a voice message aired on Taliban-controlled state media, according to a translation by The Telegraph.

“But we will soon implement the punishment for adultery,” he said. “We will flog women in public. We will stone them to death in public.”

Taliban women

Taliban security personnel stand guard as an Afghan woman walks through a market in the Baharak district of Badakhshan province on Feb. 26, 2024. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images)

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The comments are the strongest confirmation of the Taliban’s intent to re-implement the harsh policies from its previous rule in the 1990s, though reports have shown that it never fully ceased its extreme abuse against women, including in a deadly 2015 video that depicted a 19-year-old woman crammed into a hole surrounded by men who threw stones at her head with increasing force. 

The execution was reportedly carried out after the woman allegedly had premarital sex with her fiancé, who in turn received lashes, reported Radio Free Europe. 

Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 capital punishments and public executions have resumed, though it is unclear if any women have yet to be stoned under the new Taliban-run state. 

According to a U.N. report in May 2023, 175 individuals had been sentenced to various punishments and 37 people had been sentenced to stoning. Over 100 people had been sentenced to “crimes against God” such as lashings, while another four had been sentenced to having walls knocked down on them.

Taliban women's rights

Women are watched as they stand in a queue outside the passport office in Herat on Aug. 26, 2023. (Mohsen Karimi/AFP via Getty Images)

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It is unclear how many of those sentenced are women or when the punishments will be carried out. 

The United Nations and the international community have repeatedly called on the Taliban to respect human rights, particularly women’s rights, which have been stripped since the terrorist group’s takeover. 

Akhundzada responded to international condemnation over the weekend and said, “These are all against your democracy, but we will continue doing it. We both say we defend human rights – we do it as God’s representative and you as the devil’s.”

The mullah said women’s rights were against the Taliban’s extreme interpretation of Islam.

“Do women want the rights that Westerners are talking about? They are against sharia and clerics’ opinions, the clerics who toppled Western democracy,” he said.

Taliban celebrate Afghanistan victory

The Taliban celebrate their first anniversary of retaking Afghanistan after the U.S. troops withdrew. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

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Akhundzada vowed to continue opposing democratic values and women’s rights.

“I told the Mujahedin that we tell the Westerners that we fought against you for 20 years and we will fight 20 and even more years against you,” he said. “It did not finish [when you left]. It does not mean we would now just sit and drink tea. We will bring sharia to this land.”

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