Distressing video has emerged of a man screaming in agony while Taliban fighters whipped him for allegedly swiping a cell phone.
The man was tied to a traffic sign in front of the Ministry of Education building in Kabul, where he was flogged this weekend, The Sun reported about the footage circulating on social media.
In the clip, cables are seen handed over to the militants to use on the victim, who is writhing in pain while bound with metal restraints.
The chilling footage comes after two Afghan journalists were reported to have been severely beaten with batons, electrical cables and whips for covering a women’s protest in the capital.
Dozens of local reporters have reportedly been beaten in recent weeks — despite the Taliban’s claims they’d uphold press freedoms under the new regime and vows to adopt a softer approach than during their last rule.
This week, meanwhile, fears mounted in the country as the Islamic fundamentalists tightened their grip on women’s rights, slashing access to work and denying girls the right to secondary school education.
“I may as well be dead,” said one woman who was removed from her senior role at the Foreign Ministry.
“I was in charge of a whole department and there were many women working with me… now we have all lost our jobs,” she told Agence France-Presse, insisting she not be named for fear of reprisals.
The acting mayor of Kabul has said any municipal jobs currently held by women would be taken over by men.
While Afghanistan’s new rulers have not issued an official policy banning women from working, directives by individual officials have amounted to their exclusion from the workforce.
Afghan women had gained basic rights in the past 20 years, becoming lawmakers, judges, pilots and police officers, though mostly limited to large cities.
Hundreds of thousands of women entered the workforce, but since returning to power on Aug. 15, the Taliban have shown no inclination to honor their rights.
When questioned, Taliban officials say women have been told to stay at home for their own security but will be allowed to work once proper segregation can be implemented.
“When will that be?” a woman teacher said Monday. “This happened last time. They kept saying they would allow us to return to work, but it never happened.”
On Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that girls will be allowed to return to school “as soon as possible,” adding that “a safe learning environment” needed to be established beforehand, AFP reported.