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The Taliban aren't taking Afghanistan back to the middle ages – they're subverting Islam's sound medieval legal principles

By Christian Lange, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Utrecht University
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The Taliban are back in the saddle and, with them, the dreadful spectre of the harsh punishments meted out in their previous time in power: public hangings and stonings, amputation of hands and public floggings. Veteran Taliban fighter and senior official Mullah Nooruddin Turabi explained in a recent interview that these penalties – including hangings and amputations – are “very necessary” in order to achieve “deterrence”.

When the Taliban first came to power…

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