Taliban execute dozens in surprise attack

Afghan officials say Taliban rebels have pulled some 50 commuters off a bus and killed about 30 of them.

The police chief of Kandahar Province, where the attack took place, said that of six bodies retrieved so far, all had been beheaded and mutilated. The police had collected information that 24 others had been executed but had yet to find the bodies.

The attack occurred Thursday on the main ring road running from the city of Kandahar to the western town of Herat. It is also the major road for British and Afghan troops traveling to Helmand Province, where the insurgency is the strongest in the country.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, verified that the group was responsible for the killings and said that 27 passengers were taken from a bus three days ago and murdered after appearing before a Taliban court.

“This is a very cruel act carried out by the Taliban,” said Gulab Mangal, the governor of Helmand Province. “We condemn this crime and we request that human rights organizations investigate thoroughly this massacre.”

The bus was stopped and 50 people were detained, accusing them of being soldiers traveling in civilian clothes. Ten people were released with the bus a day later, but 40 men were still unaccounted for, he said.

(Source: International Herald Tribune)