The Herat Primary Court on Sunday sentenced 14 men to death on charges of kidnapping and murder, local officials said.
Another four were sentenced to between 20 and 25 years in prison.
According to the NDS office in Herat, 18 men involved in a 25-member gang were arrested. The gang is allegedly led by a cleric.
Mohammad Shoaib Ibrahimi, head of the Herat Primary Court, said the suspects had been responsible for a spate of kidnappings in Herat. They released 10 hostages after being paid ransom but had killed others when no ransom was paid.
“The accusations were proven against the suspects and the men were sentenced to death by the primary court of Herat,” he said.
The court meanwhile ordered that houses owned by the gang members be seized.
Meanwhile, families of the victims said they want justice to be served.
“After kidnapping my son and my brother-in-law, they [kidnappers] called me and asked for three million Afghanis. I did not have that money. They called me again after four days and said they have killed my son. They gave me the address so I could collect the body of my son ,” said Abdul Salaam, father of one victim.
It is believed that most of those involved in the syndicate lived in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Herat’s Shaidaee area.