KABUL - Hackers have for the third time in less than a year crippled the main website of the Afghan Taliban, with a Taliban spokesman on Friday blaming Western intelligence agencies amid an intensifying cyber war with the insurgents.

The unidentified hackers broke into the Taliban's El Emara website twice on Thursday, replacing usual insurgent victory messages with images of executions and support for the Afghan government and security forces in English, Arabic and Pashto.

Some of the photographs showed women being shot in the head or hanged by former Taliban executioners, while another showed two women in head-to-toe burkas being beaten.

"Violence is wrong in all its forms, especially the encouragement by the Taliban of cowardly betrayal and the senseless murder of innocent civilians," a screenshot from Afghan Pajhwok News showed the message as saying in English. "The Afghan Security Forces are accountable to Allah and the Afghan people, and seek to restore peace as the foreigners leave the land," it said.

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