Taliban hang body from crane in city square

The Taliban hung a body from a crane in the main square of Herat city, a witness to the incident told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Wazir Ahmad Seddiqi, who runs a local pharmacy, told the AP that four bodies were brought to the square and three bodies were taken to other areas of the city for public display. 

According to Seddiqi, the Taliban said the men were taking part in a kidnapping and were killed by police.

A Taliban-appointed police chief in the city later claimed that kidnappers had abducted a father and son, adding the pair were rescued after a gunfight that killed all four alleged kidnappers, the AP reported.

The Taliban rapidly seized control of Afghanistan in mid-August and have since set out to earn international legitimacy, despite concerns that the militant group would return to its former brutality.

Under previous Taliban rule, the Taliban shot murderers dead and cut off hands and feet from alleged thieves and highway robbers.

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the Taliban's founders, told the AP earlier this week that the group has said executions and amputations will return as punishments for crimes. 

"No one will tell us what our laws should be," Turabi told the AP. "We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran."

Asked about Turabi's comments on Friday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. condemned them "in the strongest terms." 

"The acts the Taliban are talking about here would constitute clear gross abuses of human rights, and we stand firm with the international community to hold perpetrators of these - of any such abuses accountable," Price told reporters