Afghanistan's Interior Ministry has accused Taliban fighters of raiding homes and killing at least 100 civilians in attacks in the southern Kandahar Province, near the border with Pakistan.
The accusation, which could not be independently confirmed, was made by ministry spokesman Mirwais Stanekzai, who was quoted by Tolo News as saying the "brutal terrorists" had "ambushed the homes of innocent Afghans in certain areas of the Spin Boldak border town, looted the homes, and martyred 100 innocent people."
The head of Kandahar Central Hospital, Mohammad Daud Farhad, told Radio Azadi late on July 21 that in the preceding 10 days, 346 wounded had been brought to Mirwais Hospital from Kandahar's war zones, including Kandahar City, Dand District, and Spin Boldak.
"As a result of the fighting in Kandahar, 77 bodies have also been brought to our hospital in the last 10 days, most of them unidentified, and it seems that many civilians are among those killed," Farhad said.
Taliban fighters are said to control most of Spin Boldak.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the group's involvement in the killing of civilians, Tolo reported.
The report of the Spin Boldak deaths comes with Taliban militants reportedly winning control of dozens of districts around the country since the U.S.-led international forces officially began their withdrawal on May 1.
The Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman alleged that the attackers in Spin Boldak had acted on orders from "bosses" across the border in Pakistan, which is on increasingly tense terms with its neighbor since Kabul last week accused Islamabad of sheltering wounded Taliban fighters during Afghan military operations.
Islamabad has rejected allegations of support for violence, and senior Pakistani officials reiterated on July 22 that they are committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Tolo quoted a member of the Kandahar Provincial Council, Fida Mohammad Afghan, as saying that unidentified gunmen had pulled two of his sons from his home in Spin Boldak this week and shot them to death.
He suggested those gunmen were not associated with the Taliban but that "whoever they are, they must be apprehended and they must be brought to justice."