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Afghanistan

Taliban hang university student visiting family

The Afghan Taliban have publicly executed a man they believe was involved in killing of their high-ranking officer. The fourth-year student was heading to visit his family for a vacation when the militants captured him.

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry confirmed the execution on Saturday, saying they had launched a probe "to arrest and punish the perpetrators of this criminal act."

Officials identified the victim as Faizul Rehman, a fourth-year student at the Kabul Polytechnic University. He was stopped while driving from Kabul to his home village of Sewaka in Chak district, some 60 km (37 miles) west of the Afghan capital.

"He wanted to spend his vacation at home but was captured on Thursday by local Taliban," government spokesman Abdul Rehman Mangal said. "Local elders tried to mediate to release him, but they failed."

Suspected of killing intelligence chief

According to the spokesman, the Taliban claimed that the student was involved in a recent assassination of an officer in their movement.

"They accused him of killing Mullah Mirwais, the head of their intelligence in the area," Mangal added.

The student was hanged publicly on Friday.

The main spokesman for the Taliban movement, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that the Taliban were also looking into the execution. "Once we finish our investigation and fact-finding, we will share the details," he said.

Before the US invasion in 2001, the Taliban often organized public executions in football stadiums. During recent years, they have staged public lashings, hangings and stoning for crimes such as adultery.

dj/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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