Cutting Hands: A souvenir left from Taliban era

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Memories

One of the issues that always criticized Taliban’s government was their punishment law. Although a majority of the people liked the way they punished the defaulters, but according to human rights and such organizations, they were being “cruel” to the people. At that kind of a time and that particular type of government, no one would really care how they used to carry the law ahead. The law was whatever they felt like doing, and nothing else. There was one good deed always attributed to the Taliban and not to any other government throughout the written history of Afghanistan and that is how they used to defend the people and oppose the guilty. Their government, unlike any other system in the world, had two attributes for itself, one was Anarchy, and the second was Dictatorship. I used Anarchy because I witness how they used to do administration without having any proper system and nothing never broke. Dictatorship because they were extreme at their actions and never thought about Human Rights or any bullshit of this sort. If they caught a man stealing something, they would punish him right away on the spot. They believed that “If you take the accused to the court, there will always someone appear to put a guarantee and release him, and that was never effective for having a peaceful and calm state”. I heard about many cases that they capture thieves who used to rob people and then rap their women and leave in the middle of nowhere with no ration and water and further, destroying their vehicle’s engine to prevent them from moving, and when Taliban caught any of these robbers, they would just queue them up and execute them by shooting 10 rounds at each. That was the main reason that the social security status was at it’s best condition in Afghanistan’s history. No one dared to steal anything because they feared that the Taliban would do such a horrible thing to them. One of these punishments I witnessed was cutting a man’s hand who was accused of stealing stuff from a shop. It was midday when I bunked school and having my turban in my hand, started running towards a crowd that was moving to somewhere unknown to me. I was absolutely unaware of what’s going on. They crowd gathered at a ground that used to be a football field long back. A man, whose face was colored in black and was unknown, was brought in the middle of the crowd where hundreds of people circled them. The accused was guarded by 5-7 Talibs and a team of doctors from the main hospital was coming through the accused. They made the accused lay on the ground. Two Talibs sat by his head and two others kept his legs tight. He was calm and wasn’t even shouting or trying to escape, which surprised me. I was standing somewhere in the middle of the crowd holding my turban and my books in my hand and watching it. It was summer, very hot and the sun was burning my bald head. Some people used to throw stones at the Talibs, and some other threw rocks at the accused. No one could really make out what’s wrong with the man. But some where whispering, I heard they were saying the man has stolen a lot of cash from a shop in nighttime. That was a reason enough strong to have man’s hand chopped, no wonders. The doctors started sanitizing the man’s wrist. Then then applied an injection in the man’s wrist, which I believed was a anesthetic agent in order to prevent or decrease the pain. The man would die of pain without this. They waited for around 5 or 7 minutes for the injection to take effect. One of the doctors distributed latex gloves to the rest and he himself wore them two. They prepare surgical blades mounted on forceps. They told the Talibs to cover his face in order to bare him from seeing. (Seeing what being done to him). They started cutting the man’s wrist’s skin leaving the hand with flowing blood. They worked for around 5 or 6 minutes to stop the bleeding. Then, the doctors dislodged the hand from the wrist using moves to detach the bones from the joint. They threw the cut hand a meter-like away from the man. The Talibs then took the cut-away hand the painted it with black color. The man was apparently unconscious when the operation was over. He was then taken to the bazaar and was shown to the public. The Talibs chanted slogans saying that “if you do anything against the Islamic rules, this will happen to you too”. They (Talibs) make a necklace of spoiled eggplants and put it around his neck and there was another necklace made of steel boxes with some rocks in each to make noise whenever he tried to shake his body. This was a way by which they tried to make fun of a person, whom in according to their thought, violated Islamic rules”.

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