Public double execution by the Taliban in a soccer stadium in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban carried out a public double execution in a stadium in the southeast of the country on Thursday, with relatives of stabbing victims shooting two convicted men in front of thousands of spectators.

The Taliban Supreme Court had ruled that the two men were responsible for the deaths of two victims by stabbing in separate attacks, according to a statement. The court identified the two as Syed Jamal from the central province of Wardak and Gul Khan from Ghazni, although it remained unclear who carried out the stabbings, the two convicts or others.

The statement went on to say that three lower courts and the Taliban’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, had ordered the executions in retaliation for their alleged crimes.

On Thursday, people thronged outside the stadium in the Ali Lala neighborhood of Ghazni city and scrambled to get inside. Religious scholars appealed to the relatives of the victims to forgive the convicts, but they refused.

A spokesman for the Ghazni police said that the two men were executed by relatives of the victims. He said 15 bullets were fired from behind, eight at one of the men and seven at the other.

The killings were the third and fourth public executions since the Taliban took power in 2021 amid the chaotic withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan.

The United Nations has sharply criticized the Taliban for carrying out public executions, floggings and stonings since taking power and called on the country’s rulers to stop these practices.