Afghanistan's interior ministry says Taliban insurgents beheaded four Afghan construction workers in the northeast of the country after their families failed to pay a ransom for their release.
According to the ministry, the four Afghans were kidnapped last week while working on a road project in the northeastern province of Nuristan. The insurgents demanded money for their release and beheaded them after the families did not pay.
Afghanistan has seen a sharp rise in violence over the past two years as Taliban insurgents have stepped up their fight to overthrow the pro-Western Afghan government and eject NATO and U.S. troops.
Taliban insurgents have often targeted workers on government and foreign-backed infrastructure projects.
More than 6,000 people were killed last year in Afghanistan, many of them civilians, the worst year of violence since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.