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KABUL: Afghanistan’s supreme leader on Saturday urged Afghans to respect Sharia law and called for good relations with the international community, in a rare message marking the end of Ramazan.

In a written message ahead of the Eid ul-Fitr festival that falls next week, supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said: “Injustice and being opposed to Sharia leads to insecurity.”

Since returning to power in August 2021, Taliban authorities have enforced rules based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Women have borne the brunt of restrictions the United Nations has labelled “gender apartheid” that have pushed them from public life.

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The Taliban government has not been officially recognised by any state and Hibatullah’s message did not touch on key diplomatic sticking points, such as allowing girls and women to return to secondary schools and universities.

Hibatullah, who lives in southern Kandahar province – the Taliban’s spiritual heartland – and is rarely seen in public, reiterated that the Taliban authorities “seek diplomatic and economic relations with all nations”.

“In the realm of international relations among all countries, we aim to pursue a balanced and economically focused policy in the light of the holy religion of Islam.”

The Eid message came after a recording attributed to Hibatullah that circulated in January was shared widely again in recent weeks.

In that audio clip, he vowed to implement punishments used under the Taliban’s previous rule from 1996 to 2001, such as public stoning of women for adultery, sparking condemnation from rights groups and the United Nations.

In a recent interview with Afghanistan’s Tolo News, Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said stoning was part of Sharia and that it would be used again “if the conditions for it arise”.

Taliban authorities have not officially commented on the audio clip.

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KU Apr 06, 2024 08:25pm
If respect of Sharia law is violated then it is compulsory for the government of Afghanistan to punish those who violate these sacred laws.
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