The Afghan Taliban has executed at least six men who worked for a government programme in western Heratofficials said.

The men were shot in the head late on Monday, despite efforts by governor Fazlullah Wahidi to convince the Taliban the men did not work for him, the governor told the Reuters news agency. 

"We had gathered some elders to meet the Taliban to tell them that they ... worked for everyone in the country, but the Taliban killed them before they arrived for negotiations," Wahidi said on Tuesday.

The Afghan men worked for a World Bank-funded programme created by the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development that aims to improve project management before the withdrawal of most foreign troops from the country next year.

Multiple attacks

Meanwhile, six civilians who remain unidentified were found by a roadside on Tuesday, Rohullah Samon, spokesman for eastern Paktia province, told Associated Press. 

The western province has been mostly stable, but 17 civilians have been killed in multiple Taliban attacks in Afghanistan in the same region on August 17.

Taliban fighters also stormed a court where the group's members were standing trial in April, killing seven and wounding 75.

About two weeks ago, eight people who worked for the Afghan security forces were executed in Ghazni on their way to Kabul by bus.

Elections are to be held on April 5 to replace President Hamid Karzai, who came to power in 2001 after US-led forces toppled the Taliban.

Source: Agencies