VILE footage of a woman screaming for mercy as she is savagely whipped 40 times by the Taliban for "talking to a man on the phone" has emerged.
The shocking clip shows crowds of men watching on as the woman, knelt on the ground, pleads for forgiveness as she is repeatedly flogged – a stark reminder of the Taliban's power in Afghanistan.
The woman, covered by a burqa, was led into the circle of spectators near Herat by an Islamist elder before her punishment was handed down by two others.
One can be seen whipping her again and again in the video before passing the scourge to another elder, who lashed her harder.
Clearly in distress, the woman can be heard desperately saying "I repent, it's my fault, I messed up" in between cries of pain.
The brutal beating was watched by hoards of local men, there to witness the punishment being carried out.
The trio had acted as self-proclaimed judges and decided to punish her for her "immoral relations", reports France 24.
The man who the woman had spoken to on the phone was also arrested and held in a Taliban prison.
It is thought the clip was recorded late last year, but has only now emerged after being posted online.
The Taliban court in the Obe province meets three times a week to deal with complaints lodged by locals – who reportedly turn to them to resolve issues as they hold little faith in the government.
Sometimes, those watching on video the punishments inflicted by these "courts" and upload them onto social media.
This system is said to exist across Afghanistan due to a lack of government presence.
Atefa Ghafouri, a women’s rights activist in Herat, says those who officiate "these so-called trials feel untouchable" due to the "the Afghan government’s inaction".
"All of the men who attended the whipping were ordinary citizens, just people who live in the area," she told France 24.
"Lots of Afghans, especially those in rural regions, support these tribunals.
"In many parts of Afghanistan, the government has zero presence.
"There is no court where you can go and file a complaint. And even when there is some kind of court, the judicial proceedings are long and expensive, because you have to pay bribes so that someone actually works on your file.
"So, unfortunately, the only alternative is a Taliban court, which also happens to be rapid and free.
"People turn to these tribunals and find solutions for their conflicts and that builds legitimacy. The Taliban then impose their rules. The first victims of this system are women."
Despite almost two decades of military intervention from the US, the Taliban still has a hold over Afghanistan – as made clear by clips like this.
The emergence of the vile video comes after Joe Biden confirmed the US will withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan by Septemeber 11, 2021 to end "the longest war in US history".
The president confirmed all 2,500 American troops would be brought home over the course of four months, starting from May 1 – the withdrawal deadline agreed between Donald Trump and the Taliban.
The president announced the landmark withdrawal during a White House press conference in the Roosevelt Room, where George W. Bush announced the strikes against Al-Qaeda training camps on October 7, 2001.
Biden said the Taliban should know that the US will "defend our allies and partners with all the tools at our disposal," however.
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