KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Thousands of people crowded into a stadium in Afghanistan's capital Friday to watch a Taliban soldier beat three government officials who had been found guilty of taking bribes.

The beatings were in keeping with the religious militia's strict interpretation of Islamic law, which calls for public punishments, including executions.

The three men were paraded before the crowd and their crimes read out. Then a soldier pulled them to one side and whipped them, witnesses said.

Each man was sentenced to 36 lashes and a six-month prison sentence.

One of the men, Abdul Wadood, was an employee of the religious police, whose officers roam the streets beating women who are outside their home without a male relative or are not wearing the all-enveloping burqa. He was found guilty of forging the signature of the defense minister on requisition slips, then selling the requisitioned equipment.

The other two officials, Mir Qasim and Sher Jan, were found guilty of taking the equivalent of $35 in bribes. It wasn't clear what they gave in exchange for the money.

In the 90 percent of the country under Taliban control, the militia have banned women from working and girls from going to school. They also force men to grow their beards and publicly beat anyone who shaves or trims his beard.