Afghan officials say Taliban insurgents have beheaded 17 Afghan civilians for taking part in a music event in a Taliban-controlled area of southern Afghanistan.

The Interior Ministry says the attack happened Sunday in Helmand province and that gunfire was also involved.

Helmand provincial government spokesman Daoud Ahmadi says the attack happened in Musa Qala district. Ahmadi says all of the victims had their heads chopped off. He says it was not clear if they were shot first.

The Musa Qala government chief says the people had gathered for a celebration and were playing music and dancing and the insurgents wanted to stop the event. Neyamatullah Khan says the area where the slaughter took place is completely in Taliban control and so he does not have more details yet.