Kabul: Afghanistan's Taliban Islamic insurgents have amputated a hand and a foot of two private security guards because they worked for foreign troops, police and one of the victims said on Saturday.
The Taliban confirmed they had cut off the right hand and left foot of each man but said the men were punished because they were highway robbers.
One of the victims, his right arm and left leg swathed in bloodstained bandages, was interviewed by Tolo TV from his hospital bed in the western city of Herat.
The man aged 25, whose name was not given, said he and his companion had been kidnapped a few days ago by the militants.
"They asked us to plant explosives in the company and said they would pay us for that, but we said no," the man told an interviewer in a shaky voice.
"Then they took us to their court and their judges ruled that a hand and a foot be cut off. We protested and said we only work to make money."
A Herat police spokesman said family members and residents had reported that the men were targeted because they worked for a private security company guarding supply convoys for foreign forces.
The incident happened in the Rabat-e Sangi district and the men were brought to Herat city for treatment, police spokesman Noor Khan Nikzad told AFP by phone.
The Taliban, in a statement on their website, said the men had confessed to "the District court of the Islamic Emirate" that they had robbed travellers on roads in the area.
At midday Thursday, it said, "in the presence of many locals, the penalty ordained by Allah and Sharia (Islamic law) was applied to the highway robbers, a decision welcomed by all Muslims of the area".
The Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001 and imposed a harsh form of Islamic justice including floggings, amputations and executions.
They were toppled by a US-led invasion in 2001 and have since waged an insurgency against Afghan government forces and foreign troops. Civilians who work for the military are often targeted.