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The Taliban and restorative justice

January 19, 2009

Many of the tenets of the Taliban were only an extreme form of an
ideology that had its roots in the traditional practices and customary
laws of some tribal groups. Inspired by tribal codes and principles of
restorative justice, many of the customary laws of Afghanistan,
especially the Pashtunwali (the unwritten code of honour of the Pashtun
people practiced even today), would be considered abhorrent and a
complete violation of basic principles of internationally recognised
human rights including the right to life and liberty.

The use of women as private property in dispute settlement; taking
lives in exchange for injury or murder; treating the sheltering of a
battered woman as a kidnapping which demands retribution through
murder; all of this did not begin or end with the Taliban. Nor did the
practice of summary or public executions. The brutality that is now
seen to characterise the Taliban regime was evident in the behaviour of
the ‘commanders’, ‘warlords’ and power brokers, with long years of
conflict having brutalised the fighting men and having entrenched the
most egregious aspects of the ‘spoils of war’ as routine practices.

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