15 men and two women were found
beheaded slain in Afganistan on Monday, Reuters reports. The victims were killed by Taliban members after attending a mixed-sex party with music and dancing in Helmand province
Under Taliban rule, the social mingling of men and women was illegal, and continues to be vehemently opposed in the country. While some rules have been relaxed since the Taliban lost power in 2001, flirting and public displays of affection are condemned and parties involving men and women are secretive affairs.
Earlier this year, Taliban gunmen killed 20 people at a hotel near Kabul, claiming the hotel was known for wild parties and was full of “pimps and whores.”
The governor of Helmand has sent investigators to the site of the killings.
Update: An earlier version of this story said the victims were beheaded; The Guardian reports their throats were slit. There are also conflicting reports about the motive behind the killings, which was initially reported to be punishment for attending the party.