Former Afghan Taliban militants carry their weapons before handing them over as part of a government peace and reconciliation process at a ceremony in Jalalabad, March 27, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
The Afghan government has executed six Taliban prisoners as part of a crackdown on the militant group under the country’s President Ashraf Ghani.
“In accordance with the Afghan constitution… Ghani approved the execution of six terrorists who perpetrated grave crimes against civilians and public security,” the Afghan president’s office said in a statement on Sunday.
“This order has been carried out today after… considering the human rights obligations of Afghanistan
… and in accordance with Afghan laws,” it added.
The move, the first of its kind since the onset of Ghani’s presidency in 2014, was conducted by the Afghan government as a reprisal for a bombing attack by the Taliban that killed at least 64 people in the country’s capital, Kabul, last month.
Delivering a speech in April, Ghani had vowed to “deal severely with those who shed the blood of our innocent people and soldiers,” and “show no mercy when punishing them.”
The militant group had responded by threatening “grave repercussions” if the prisoners were executed.
Over the past months, Taliban militants have captured some key areas in the north and south of Afghanistan. The militants have also carried out attacks in the capital, Kabul.
The assaults came in the wake of the failure of a new round of talks in February that aimed at reviving the peace process in the war-ravaged country.
The Afghan government and Taliban were rescheduled to meet for face-to-face peace talks by the first week of March in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, but the Taliban denied they would be participating in any upcoming talks in Islamabad.
Afghanistan is gripped by insecurity more than 14 years after the United States and its allies attacked the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The war removed the Taliban from power in 2001 but insecurity is still rampant in the country despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops.