By Abdul Haleem
KABUL, April 22 (Xinhua) -- "The Taliban captured us and chopped off our hands and feet," one of the two victims of the Taliban's harsh Islamic justice, said in a hospital in the western Herat province 640 km west of Kabul over the weekend.
What happened shocked not just the doctors and other medical staff in the hospital but also other patients.
"Amputation of these two men is the barbaric act of Taliban and this reminds us of the brutality of the Taliban rule 12 years ago, " one hospital staff told Xinhua but declined to be identified for security reasons.
Although the militants have executed men and stoned to death women over the past couple of years in some parts of the insurgency-ridden country, this was the first time that it has chopped the hands and feet of people charged with robbery and stealing.
In a statement posted on the Taliban website, the insurgent group claimed responsibility, saying the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (name of Taliban ousted regime) has arrested two robbers in Herat and implemented the Sharia or Islamic law on them.
"Two persons Zarin and Faiz Mohammad, were involved in criminal activities, including robbery. They have often robbed travelers on the highway in Rubat-e-Sangi District of Herat province and were arrested by the mujahiddin of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the statement said.
According to the statement, both the accused, without the use of any physical torture, admitted to their crime before the court and the court implemented the Sharia which calls for the cutting off of their right hand and left foot. The punishment was carried out last Friday, the statement added.
But the victims themselves said that their only crime was that they were working for foreigners.
One of the victims said that he was captured by the Taliban in the Torghundi area outside of Herat City some 26 days ago.
"After we were captured, the Taliban forced us to hurl bombs at a caravan of foreign forces but we refused to obey. The Taliban got angry and chopped off our hands and feet," the victim said.
The victim said that without any anesthesia, the Taliban cut off their feet and hands.
In their 20s, both victims are under medical treatment in the Herat City hospital and according to Mohammad Rafiq Shirzai, hospital spokesman, both of them are now in stable condition.
With its hard-line interpretation of Islam, the Taliban rule for six years in Afghanistan was characterized by inhuman and brutal treatment as part of the Islamic justice that they imposed on the country.
The Taliban rule came to an abrupt end in late 2001 when the U. S.-led military coalition invaded Afghanistan. The refusal of the Taliban government to hand over Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Ladin to the U.S. has triggered the invasion.
Islamic punishment imposed by the Taliban included public execution of murderers, amputation of hands and legs of robbers and thieves, and stoning and lashing of adulterers.
During the Taliban rule, the National Sport Stadium in Kabul was the venue for the execution and other forms of punishment for criminals done every Friday, which is a holiday among Muslims.