The bodies of 10 people, including eight foreigners, were recovered in a remote area of Badakhshan province in northern Afghanistan, police said.
Provincial police chief Gen. Agha Noor Kemtuz said the victims, who had been shot, were found Friday next to three bullet-riddled four-wheeled drive vehicles in Kuran Wa Munjan district. He said two Afghan men were found dead along with eight others — three women and five men — whose nationalities were not known.
It was unclear what the group was doing in the forested area away from main routes through the province.
Kemtuz speculated that robbery could have been a motive in the killings.
"We couldn't find any passports or anything," he said. "Nothing was left behind."
Villagers reported seeing foreigners traveling in four-wheeled drive vehicles in the area about 15 days ago, Kemtuz said. About two days ago, villagers told police that they saw the vehicles abandoned and search crews were sent to the area to investigate, he said.
"We have seen the reports and are actively working with local authorities and others to learn more about the identities and nationalities of these individuals," said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
In eastern Afghanistan, a candidate in next month's parliamentary elections who was kidnapped by insurgents was found dead Friday along a road in Ghazni province.
Also in the east, 12 Afghan civilians and a NATO service member were killed by roadside bombs.
The Taliban abducted the candidate, Najib Gulstani, 10 days ago in the Qarabagh district of Ghazni province, said Kazim Allayar, the deputy provincial governor. Relatives, assisted by Afghan soldiers, recovered his body Friday afternoon from the side of a road that runs between Qarabagh and Ab Band districts, Allayar said.
Aziza Mysam, a member of parliament from Ghazni, said members of the local council in Qarabagh told the governor that the Taliban wanted two of their detainees released in exchange for the candidate. She said the governor refused to entertain the exchange offer.
"Ghazni is very dangerous," said Mysam, who said she has received 10 threats from the Taliban in the past month.
She said one caller told her, "Leave your job, otherwise we will kill you."
She said she told the caller, "I'm continuing my job. It's my wish to serve the nation. I'm not afraid of your threats."
In other violence, nine civilians were killed Thursday by a remote-controlled bomb in the Bar Kunar district of Kunar province, according to Gen. Khalilullah Zaiyi, provincial police chief. Three civilians were killed and others were wounded in a different blast Thursday in the Qarabagh district of Ghazni, NATO said.
NATO did not disclose the nationality or provide other details about the death of its service member Friday. But the Polish Defense Ministry said the dead soldier was a Pole killed by a roadside bomb in Ghazni that also injured five other Polish service members.
In the south, Malak Janan, a tribal chief in Kandahar province's Dand district, and his son were killed Thursday night when gunmen entered their home and shot them, according to Zelmai Ayubi, a spokesman for the provincial governor. The motive was unclear.
NATO said Afghan-led security forces detained several suspected insurgents Thursday in neighboring Helmand province where they were tracking two Taliban district commanders in charge of Garmser and Naway-i-Barakzayi districts.
One force targeted a compound in search of the militant commander for Garmser district, who directs attacks against coalition forces and runs weapons and supplies for Taliban fighters. Afghan forces used a loudspeaker to ask residents to leave their buildings and, after questioning, the assault force detained several suspected insurgents.
A separate security force went to Marjah district looking for the Nawah-i-Barakzayi district commander, who recently returned from Pakistan, NATO said. The force captured three men who tried to escape a compound by maneuvering through a nearby canal. The assault force detained several suspected insurgents and found five pounds of opium at the scene.