Taliban kill Afghan 'party-goers' in Helmand
Seventeen civilians have been killed by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, reportedly for attending a party.
The bodies of two women and 15 men were found by the side of a road in the Kajaki district.
They were either beheaded or had had their throats cut. Some showed signs of beatings or had gunshot wounds.
Meanwhile, 10 Afghan army soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in the same province.
In eastern Afghanistan, two US soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan National Army soldier.
The bodies of the 17 civilians were discovered on Monday morning.
Local officials said the men had gathered to listen to music and watch the women dance when they were attacked. The Taliban disapprove of men and women mixing socially.
"I can confirm that this is the work of the Taliban," the Helmand provincial governor's spokesman, Daud Ahmadi, told AFP news agency.
He added that the men and women were "partying with music in an area under the control of the Taliban".
The BBC's Quentin Sommerville, in the capital Kabul, says some reports suggest the 17 were killed because they were local government workers.
The 10 Afghan army soldiers were killed in a massive attack by the Taliban on their checkpoint in southern Helmand on Monday morning. As many as 200 insurgents were involved in the assault, 11 of whom were killed.
Four soldiers were wounded and six others were also missing following the attack in Washir district, a senior police official told AFP.
The two US soldiers with the Nato-led force in Afghanistan were killed in Laghman province by an Afghan army soldier who was subsequently killed by Nato troops.
Such incidents, termed "green on blue" attacks in line with colour-coding systems used by the US military, have killed a total of 42 foreign troops this year.
The Taliban claim responsibility for many of the attacks, but Nato says other issues, including cultural differences and personal animosities, are behind many incidents.
Currently, approximately 130,000 (blue) Nato troops are fighting insurgents in Afghanistan alongside 350,000 (green) Afghans.
Nato forces are due to withdraw combat troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with only training troops remaining.