Taliban 'executed 900 people in six weeks' in one province

Taliban 'executed 900 people in six weeks' in one province

The Taliban executed some 900 people in six weeks in just one province as its fighters overran government troops, a police chief has claimed.

Targets included police officers, tribal elders, civil activists, and even a popular comedian who were dragged from their homes and killed in southern Kandahar province, the region's former head of police Tadin Khan said.

Islamist fighters have now recaptured much of the province and have laid siege to the regional capital - also named Kandahar - as they push to retake control of the country following US troop withdrawal.

Other targets of the Islamists have been Afghan soldiers in hiding - some of whom may have surrendered to the Taliban rather than fight on the promise they would be allowed to return safely home.

Religious scholars, government employees, and anyone thought to be a supporter of the government has also been targeted, Khan said.

Taliban leaders have been keen to present the modern group as moderate version of the one that the US went to war with in 2001, in an attempt to build alliances with neighbours and prevent the kind of intervention that saw it toppled from power.

But those on the ground say it is the same brutal regime as before that has imposed its strict interpretation of Sharia law on the provinces it has captured.

Aside from the executions, women say they have been banned from leaving the house without a permit and from attending school in Taliban-controlled areas.