The Taliban killed four alleged kidnappers and hung their bodies up in public in the western Afghan city of Herat in a brutal display of force.
The men were strung up from cranes in Herat on Saturday, after being caught at a checkpoint surrounding the city.
Wazir Ahmad Seddiqi, a local shopkeeper, told The Associated Press news agency that four bodies were brought to the square, one was hung there and the three other bodies were moved to other squares in the city to be displayed.
The display is the most high-profile public punishment since the Taliban swept to power last month. Such barbarism in the past by Taliban was believed to intimidate the public and opposition forces in society.
Horrifying Pictures Shared to Social Media
Graphic images shared on social media appeared to show bloody bodies on the back of a pick-up truck with a crane hoisting one man up.
Another video showed a man suspended from a crane with a sign on his chest reading: "Abductors will be punished like this."
Taliban Called It a "Lesson" for Other Abductors
According to Herat province's deputy governor Mawlawi Shir Ahmad Muhajir, the corpses were displayed across several squares in the city on the same day as the Taliban wanted to teach a "lesson" to the abductors.
"In order to be a lesson for other kidnappers not to kidnap or harass anyone, we hung them in the squares of the city and made this clear to everyone that anyone who steals or abducts or does any action against our people will be punished," Mujahir was quoted as saying by AFP.
The four men allegedly kidnapped a local businessman and his son and tried to take them out of the city. However, they were seen by patrols that had set up checkpoints around the city. Gunfire was exchanged and all the kidnappers were killed while a Taliban soldier was injured.
Notorious Taliban Official Warned that Executions and Amputations Would Resume
Mullah Nooruddin Turabi said in an interview with The Associated Press published Thursday that the Taliban would once again amputate limbs and carry out executions. "Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security," the Taliban co-founder said.
Despite international condemnation, the Taliban said they would continue to impose swift and severe punishments on lawbreakers to stop crimes like robbery, murder and kidnapping that had become widespread in Afghanistan.
Washington, which condemned Turabi's comments on punishments, said any potential recognition of the Taliban-led government in Kabul would depend on respect for human rights.