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Afghan Authorities Execute Six More Death-Row Prisoners

Afghan authorities have executed six more death-row prisoners despite international condemnation.

Rafi Ferdous, a spokesman for Afghanistan's Council of Ministers, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on November 21 that the prisoners were guilty of plotting suicide attacks and attacks on Afghan security forces.

Authorities also hanged eight prisoners on November 20. Those executions were condemned by the European Union and international rights groups, which urged Kabul to stop future executions.

Amnesty International questioned the timing of the executions, noting Afghanistan had avoided capital punishment in recent years.

The human rights organization said it understood President Hamid Karzai is under pressure to prove he can maintain the rule of law, and advance talks with the Taliban.

Amnesty asked whether "the executions had more to do with political gain rather than justice."

Executions were commonplace during Taliban rule from 1996-2001, but court-sanctioned executions have been rare since the Taliban was ousted from power.

Until November 20, only two people had been put to death in the past four years.

On November 21, the Taliban warned of reprisals if the government executed any of its militants.
With reporting by Reuters and AFP