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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government has executed six people convicted of carrying out terrorist attacks, a presidential statement said Sunday.

They are the first executions approved by President Ashraf Ghani since taking office in 2014, and followed promises he made to take a tough stance against terrorists after last month’s deadly Kabul suicide attack that killed 64 people and injured about 350 others.

"These terrorists belonged to the Haqqani network and Taliban and each of them had carried out attacks that had killed tens of innocent Afghans," the national intelligence agency said in a statement.

Among those hanged was the orchestrator of the 2011 assassination of former president and head of the High Peace Council Burhanuddin Rabbani. Another was accused of attacking a Kabul supermarket that same year that killed eight people.

"These were all important terrorists, the enemies of innocent Afghans,” said Dawa Khan Menapal, deputy spokesman for the president’s office.

None of the men appeared to have had direct links to the recent Kabul attack.

The intelligence agency said the killings should serve as a warning for those thinking about carrying out acts of terrorism in Afghanistan.

"The Afghan defense forces will arrest and hand them over to the judicial system all those who are committing crimes against innocent Afghans and killing brave soldiers of this country," the statement said.

The government said the six men hanged at Pule Charkhi prison on the outskirts of Kabul had been found guilty by three courts and in accordance with Afghan and Islamic law.

About 130 people convicted of terrorism and other crimes are currently on death row in Afghanistan.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com Twitter: @PhillipWellman

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Phillip is a reporter and photographer for Stars and Stripes, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. From 2016 to 2021, he covered the war in Afghanistan from Stripes’ Kabul bureau. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics.
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