Local officials say hundreds of Taliban fighters have stormed a district in the strategic Ghazni Province, southwest of Kabul, killing nearly 20 people, including women and children.
Deputy provincial police chief Asadullah Ensafi said on September 26 that intense fighting between government forces and the militants had been going on for four days in the Ajrestan district.
Ensafi said the militants had beheaded 12 people, including local police officers and their family members.
The militants have overrun three villages, setting fire to houses, the official said.
Qari Yusuf Ahmad, a purported Taliban spokesman, denied that people were beheaded or houses set on fire, but he said the insurgents had killed 40 police officers in Ajrestan.
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said additional troops will be sent to Ajrestan to prevent the district falling to the insurgents.