Taliban fighters have seized control of a strategic district in the Afghan province of Ghazni, officials say.
Insurgents killed about 70 villagers after taking Ajrestan district late on Thursday night after a week of battle.
A spokesman for the provincial governor said 15 people suspected of collaborating with authorities were beheaded, including women.
The Taliban is active in many parts of Ghazni, an important gateway to the capital, Kabul, from the south-east.
Fighting is continuing as security forces try to regain the district but officials fear surrounding districts are now vulnerable to attack.
Some analysts say that control of Ajrestan also provides militants with a launching pad for attacks into adjacent provinces in the east of the country.
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