The Taliban have executed a popular TikTok comedian because he made jokes about the militant group.
Nazar Mohammad, known online as Khasha Zwan, was arrested by militants at the end of July as the Taliban was preparing to takeover Afghanistan.
A viral video showed the Kandahari jokester sitting in the backseat of a vehicle next to two Taliban fighters.
He was taken from his home, driven to an undisclosed location, beaten and then shot multiple times.
That final video reportedly showed him joking about the Taliban even though he faced a near certain death.
Mohammad gained a big following on TikTok for his ‘crude jokes, funny songs, poking fun at himself’, according to the Associated Press.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has since acknowledged that two of their fighters were responsible for the murder and will be put on trial.
However, the spokesperson also accused Nazar of working for the Afghan National Police and said he been involved in the torture and killing of Taliban members.
There has been fierce opposition to the murder of the comedian, with Human Rights Watch saying it went against the Taliban’s pledge they wouldn’t mount revenge killings if they took power.
“Taliban forces apparently executed Khasha Zwan because he poked fun at Taliban leaders,” said HRW associate Asia Director Patricia Gossman.
“His murder and other recent abuses demonstrate the willingness of Taliban commanders to violently crush even the tamest criticism or objection.”
As the Taliban swept into Kabul last week, Zabihullah Mujahid claimed this would be a new version of the organisation who are feared around the world.
“Everyone is forgiven,” the Taliban spokesperson said. “All of them have been pardoned, nobody is going to be treated with revenge.
“In your homes, nobody is going to harm you, nobody is going to knock on your doors, nobody is going to interrogate you.”
However, reports from multiple parts of Afghanistan have suggested this message isn’t filtering out to Taliban fighters.
Human Rights Watch’s Patricia Gossman has little hope this Taliban 2.0 will become a reality and Afghanistan will be subjected to similar scenes when they were last in power.
“Advancing Taliban forces have no blank check to brutally target their critics. The Taliban leadership usually denies the abuses, but it’s their fighters carrying out these attacks and their responsibility to stop the killings,” she said.
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