Authorities in Afghanistan hanged six men on death row who were convicted of “grave crimes against civilians and public security.”
Taliban officials swiftly confirmed those executed belonged to the insurgent group and vowed to “take immediate, bloody revenge.”
The executions of the terrorists took place in a Kabul prison Sunday on the orders of President Ashraf Ghani, his office confirmed to VOA.
The move came after last month’s complex suicide bombing in the Afghan capital that killed nearly 70 people and wounded hundreds more. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the deadly assault.
The attack sparked widespread domestic outrage and international condemnation.
Ghani vowed to intensify his military response to the insurgency and to endorse execution orders of convicted militants.
UN expresses regret
The United Nations said it “regrets the execution of alleged perpetrators of serious crimes and crimes against civilians,” and again called for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
“The United Nations notes that there is no conclusive evidence of the deterrent value of the death penalty, and that the use of capital punishment does not contribute to public safety,” said a statement released in Kabul late Sunday.
FILE - Destroyed cars are seen on the ground after a Taliban-claimed deadly suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 20, 2016. Afghan President Ghani has vowed to intensify his military response to the insurgency.
It also encouraged the Afghan government to expedite legal reform, which would allow death sentences to be commuted to life imprisonment.
International rights group Amnesty International had urged the Afghan leader not to endorse the execution orders, saying “hastily seeking retribution for the horrific” Kabul attack will neither bring the victims the justice they deserve nor Afghanistan the security it needs.
The Taliban has claimed there are Afghan security forces and “foreign nationals” in its custody.
The group warned in a statement last week the detainees would also face the same fate if Ghani enforced executions of its prisoners and threatened to target those who passed the death sentences.
The number of prisoners in Taliban custody is unclear. But in recent months Afghan forces, with the help of U.S-led coalition partners, have raided and freed hundreds of people from illegal detention centers the insurgency has set up in Afghanistan.