15 executed in Afghanistan | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 09, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 09, 2007

15 executed in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has put 15 people to death for crimes including murder, government officials told AFP Monday, in the second confirmed executions since the fall of the Taliban.
The convicted men went before a firing squad late Sunday, officials said.
"Fifteen people who were convicted earlier were executed," a high-ranking government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The head of prisons, Abdul Salaam Asmat, confirmed the 15 were put to death at Afghanistan's largest prison Pul-i-Charki. He refused to give details.
The last known execution by the post-Taliban government of President Hamid Karzai was in April 2004 when military commander Abdullah Shah was killed with a single bullet after being convicted for a spate of murders.
A Supreme Court spokesman, Wakil Omari, told AFP that other people were believed to have been executed in secret since then but he had no details.
A parliamentarian said Karzai may have been prompted to act with an eye on elections due in a year. "He wants to show he is strong," he said.
Around 300 people are on death row for crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping and "political crimes" such as bombings and anti-government activities, a judge told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Karzai has however been reluctant to sign their execution orders.
Pul-i-Charkhi prison was the scene of mass executions during the 1979-1992 Soviet and communist governments.
During their 1996 to 2001 hold of government, the Taliban carried out executions in public including beheadings and shooting people in the head.
The Pajhwok Afghan News agency reported that some of those executed Sunday were "low-level militants". It did not say if they were linked to the Taliban.
An official said they included men convicted of the 2001 killing of four journalists -- an Afghan, an Australian, an Italian and a Spaniard -- who entered Afghanistan to cover the 2001 toppling of the Taliban.
The Taliban movement, now waging an insurgency against Karzai's administration, was quick to react to news of the executions.
A spokesman, Yousuf Ahmadi, called journalists to read out a statement he said was from the Taliban leadership council that accused authorities of only killing men who could not afford bribes to save their lives.
It also criticised the government for carrying out executions during the holy month of Ramadan.

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