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.
Asadullah Ensafi, a deputy head of provincial police said on September 26 that intense fighting between government forces and the militants has been going on for four days in the Ajrestan district.
Ensafi said the militants have beheaded 12 people, including local police officers and their family members.
The militants have overrun three villages, setting fire on residential houses, the official said.
Qari Yusuf Ahmad, a purported Taliban spokesman, denied the claims of beheading people and setting fire on houses, but he said the insurgents have 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.