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The Taliban executed five people in a busy opium market in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province and left their bodies hanging overnight after accusing them of kidnapping a businessman. The militant group has stepped up its fight for control of the southern region since June, launching a string of attacks on government buildings, seizing territory and imposing its brand of Islamic justice. “Five kidnappers … were hanged to death by an order from the Islamic Emirate’s prosecution authorities,” a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said in a text message.



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