Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement has publicly hanged four men convicted of carrying out several deadly bombings in the capital, Kabul. Hundreds of people gathered with armed Taleban fighters to watch the execution of four men in the city's central square. Their bodies were strung from cranes and a traffic tower near Kabul's presidential palace.

The head of the hard-line Islamic group, Mullah Mohammad Omar, ordered the men executed for setting off several bombs in the capital city, last year. Nine other people have been given life sentences for their involvement in the explosions.

The Taleban says the attacks outside government buildings and a hotel caused "unspecified" loss of life and property. It says those involved confessed to their crimes, saying they were paid by a northern-based Afghan opposition alliance to do so. Members of the anti-Taleban group are said to have denied the charge. They say the bombings are the result of growing rifts within the Taleban ranks.

Wednesday's hanging took place at the same site, where the Islamic Taleban executed the country's former communist president, Najibullah, and his brother after it swept into power, five years ago.

The Taleban is known for enforcing a strict version of Islamic laws in the 90-some percent of Afghanistan it controls. The group has been internationally condemned for maintaining a poor human rights record and decisions to destroy some of the country's pre-Islamic heritage.

Sunday, Taleban authorities arrested eight foreign and 16 local aid workers in the capital, Kabul, saying they were involved in preaching Christianity. The foreigners include two Americans, two Australians and four Germans. The Taleban says their fate will be decided according to Islamic law, which prescribe death penalty for any Afghan Muslim converting to any other religion.