The Taliban have executed 900 people in six weeks in just one province as its fighters overran government troops, a police chief has claimedThe victims included police officers, tribal elders, civil activists, and even a popular comedian who were dragged from their homes and killed in southern Kandahar province, the region’s former head of police Tadin Khan said.

The police chief also disclosed that the Islamist fighters have recaptured much of the province and have laid siege to the regional capital – also named Kandahar – as they push to retake control of the country following US troop withdrawal.

Many of the deaths occurred in the town of Spin Boldak, on the border with Pakistan, Khan told Afghan news outlet TOLO.

‘The people have suffered enormously,’ he said. ‘The brutality that occurred in Boldak is unforgivable.’

Among them was comedian Nazar Mohammad, who previously served in the Afghan police, who had his throat slit before images of his body were posted online.

Other targets of the Islamists have been Afghan soldiers in hiding,  some of whom may have surrendered to the Taliban rather than fight on the promise they would be allowed to return safely home.

Religious scholars, government employees, and anyone thought to be a supporter of the government has also been targeted, Khan said.

The Taliban has denied claims of executions.

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