Seventeen people were found beheaded in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province yesterday - punishment meted out by Taliban insurgents for having attended a party with members of the opposite sex, music and dancing, officials said.
The bodies of the 15 men and two women were found in a house near the Musa Qala district, about 75 kilometres north of the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, said district governor Nimatullah, who goes by only one name.
The victims threw a late-night dance and music party when the Taliban attacked on Sunday night, Nimatullah said.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility.
In ultra-conservative Afghanistan, men and women do not usually mingle unless they are related, and parties involving both sexes together are rare and highly secretive affairs. The Taliban vehemently condemns flirting, open displays of affection and the mixing of men and women.
According to witnesses of a major attack that killed 20 near Kabul in June, Taliban gunmen stormed a high-end hotel demanding to know where the "prostitutes and pimps" were.
The Taliban said it launched that attack because the hotel was used for "wild parties".
During their five-year reign, which was toppled by US-backed Afghan forces in 2001, the Taliban banned women from voting, most work and leaving their homes unaccompanied by their husband or a male relative.
Also yesterday, an Afghan army soldier killed two Nato soldiers in eastern Laghman province, in a "green-on-blue" insider attack, the US-led International Security Assistance Force said, taking the death toll from insider attacks to 42 this year.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse