The Taliban have beheaded two boys for spying in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, officials say.
The boys, 10 and 16, had been scavenging for food in bins near police headquarters when they were abducted.
They are thought to have regularly accepted food handouts from police. Analysts say the Taliban are known to target those suspected of colluding with police.
But the Taliban have denied responsibility in this incident.
Spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi insisted to the BBC the group had not beheaded any children in the area.
Food for family
Kandahar's governor, however, condemned the acts as inhumane and un-Islamic and the provincial government has pinned the blame firmly on the militants.
Although the boys were abducted on Sunday, their bodies were only recovered on Monday morning in Kandahar's Zhari district.
News first emerged of the 10-year-old's death and later on Monday the Kandahar provincial government office confirmed that a second boy had also been beheaded.
The 10-year-old boy was very poor and was known to take food going spare from the police to take home to his family, says the BBC's Mahfouz Zubaide in Kabul.
Both boys may have gone through bins outside police and Isaf headquarters to find unused and expired packages of food, he adds.
In 2012 the Taliban were accused of beheading a 12-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl in south and east Afghanistan - the group denied responsibility in both those cases.
Correspondents say the Taliban regularly deny such atrocities. Taliban fighters in Afghanistan have been known to behead targets in the past, but have always denied attacking children in this way.