Taliban kills Afghan comedian, hangs body from tree, prompting outrage
Nazar Mohammad, commonly known by the name "Khasha Zwan", was taken from his Kandahar home over the Eid Al-Adha holidays by armed men, according to The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, on Wednesday.
His dead body left hanging from a tree in the province where the Taliban was born sparking outrage in Afghanistan.
Mohammed Ashraf Haidari, Afghan ambassador to Sri Lanka, took to Twitter to say: "The extrajudicial execution by [the] Taliban of #Khasha_Zwan… has broken the heart of a nation, the Afghan nation, so profoundly that they would never, ever forgive [the] Taliban and their state sponsor. Ever!"
While the Taliban initially said it played no part in the murder, on Monday a video was uploaded to social media depicting Khasha being held by armed Taliban members in a car.
After Khasha made a joke, one of his captors became incensed, slapping him multiple times in the face and commanding him to be killed, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said.
This recording prompted serious outrage among Afghans, which only increased after the Taliban acknowledged its responsibility.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef said the comic was killed because of his work in the local police.
Another spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid, issued a release claiming that Khasha had tried to run away, prompting gunmen to kill the comedian.
Mujahid also dismissed the deceased's status as a comedian, insisting that as a police officer he was responsible for many deaths.
Ziaulhaq Amarkhil, a senior adviser to President Ashraf Ghani and the Governor of Nangarhar Province, said on Facebook: "The slap in your face, Khasha, is a slap in the face of the people.
"The Taliban is a name for and brutality and that has not changed."
He added that there was "no obstacle" to the militant group "practising oppression on the people".
Afghan academic Orzala Nemat said: "In every house there are those who criticise the Taliban as Kasha used to, so will the Taliban kill all of them?"
The Taliban, which has recently taken over vast swathes of Afghanistan, has sent representatives to China, where they spoke with Beijing's foreign minister.
A spokesperson for the group claimed they covered issues including peace in the conflict with the Ghani government.