An Afghan official says Taliban insurgents have beheaded 12 civilians and torched some 60 homes in an assault on security forces in the eastern Ghazni province.

The province's deputy police chief Asadullah Ensafi says the Taliban have attacked several villages over the past week in the Arjistan district. He says that on Thursday night they captured and beheaded 12 family members of local and national police and burned down 60 homes. He added that the battle was still raging.

Ensafi says the Taliban also detonated a car bomb in front of an encampment where some 40 police were posted. He said it was not immediately possible to reach the area to ascertain casualties because the insurgents had mined the roads.