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Video emerges of flogging in Kandahar

While there have been many claims of public punishments in Afghanistan over the past four months, this was the first instance where AW investigators obtained visual confirmation.


23 Jan 2023

On January 17, the Taliban-led Supreme Court of Afghanistan published a statement on their Twitter page announcing the sentencing of nine people “for the crimes of sodomy and theft”. According to the letter, the alleged criminals were punished in public at the Ahmed Shahi Stadium in Kandahar City.

The announcement marks the first case of public punishment in 2023 and the second public punishment reported in Kandahar, with the first instance reported in October. It is also the first public punishment where visual confirmation of the flogging reached social media. Various photos shared online showed the crowd gathered around the Ahmed Shahi Stadium and the victims sitting in the centre of the football field. 

In a video, a spectator filmed the Taliban taking one of the men from the line, standing him up in front of the crowd, and flogging him at least ten times. The image below shows the location and a large crowd of men attending the public punishment. Highlighted in red is the Taliban flogging the alleged criminal. 

Figure: Geolocation of the Ahmad Shahi stadium in Kandahar, where a large audience gathered to watch nine men receiving a public punishment by flogging. [31.609952, 65.688366]

While there were multiple claims that the “Taliban cut off the hands of 4 people”, AW investigators found no evidence to support this. Haji Zaid, the Kandahar provincial government spokesperson said that the punishments consisted of “35 flogging to some [criminals] and 39 flogging to others”.  

In the past four months, the Afghan Supreme Court’s Twitter account has announced a total of 30 public punishments in 20 different provinces of Afghanistan. 

Figure: Location of alleged public punishments in Afghanistan provinces, as claimed by the Afghan Supreme Court Twitter page, between October 2022 and January 2023.

Most of these provinces reported one public punishment, though some provinces have seen higher figures. Nangarhar, Bamyan, Paktika, Kandahar, and Parwan have reported two instances each; Helmand was the only province to report three cases, while Laghman had the highest figure at four cases.

The interactive version of this map shows the number of claims per province.

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