Taliban vow revenge for soldier death sentence
KABUL: Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents on Wednesday threatened to kill the judges and prosecutors who sentenced an Afghan soldier to death for killing five French troops this year.
Abdul Sabor was sentenced to hang by a military court for turning his weapon on his French colleagues -- in a "green-on-blue" attack at their base in Kapisa province in January.
Four French soldiers were killed outright and 15 others were wounded -- one of whom died later from his injuries -- and the incident prompted France to speed up its planned withdrawal of troops from NATO operations in Afghanistan.
"Abdul Saboor was one of our mujahideen and we will definitely take his revenge," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Muajhid told AFP by telephone.
"We will target the prosecutors and judges involved in the case of this hero mujahid. We will use every tactic including suicide attacks to kill those judges and prosecutors," he said.
Human Rights Watch has urged France to ask the government of Afghanistan to commute the death sentence passed on the soldier.
The US-based rights group pointed out that France had abolished the death penalty and as a member of the European Union campaigns for its abolition globally.
"The French government abolished the death penalty in 1981," Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
"France should embrace the same principles in this case... as it demonstrates within France by urging President Karzai to commute Sabor's sentence."
On Tuesday the French foreign ministry "took note" of the sentence, saying its thoughts were with the soldiers who were killed and their families.
Afghanistan's justice system remains weak and compromised, and relies heavily on confessions, including some obtained through torture, Human Rights Watch said.
While the death penalty is permitted under Afghan law, executions have been infrequent since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
President Hamid Karzai, who has the final say over whether executions ordered by Afghan courts will be carried out, is on record as saying he is reluctant to sign death warrants.
But the number of so-called green-on-blue attacks -- in which Afghan forces turn their weapons against their Western allies -- has escalated this year.
So far this year at least 26 Western troops have been killed in 18 such incidents.--(AFP)
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