Six Afghan Taliban inmates on death row were hanged on Sunday, government sources said, in the first set of executions endorsed by President Ashraf Ghani since he came to power in 2014.
Ghani last month vowed a new hardline stance against the Taliban after an insurgent attack killed 64 people in Kabul, in what appeared to be the deadliest attack on the Afghan capital since 2001.
The executions occurred despite a threat of reprisal attacks from the Taliban, which launched its annual spring offensive last month, widely expected to be the worst fighting season in 15 years.
“In accordance with the Afghan constitution… Ghani approved the execution of six terrorists who perpetrated grave crimes against civilians and public security,” the presidential palace said in a statement. “This order has been carried out today after… considering the human rights obligations of Afghanistan… and in accordance with Afghan laws.”
A government source told AFP that all six were Taliban inmates, most of them convicted of insurgent strikes that resulted in mass casualties. There was no immediate comment from the Taliban.