Local officials on Wednesday said nine civilians, including provincial council candidate Hussein Nazari, were killed by insurgents in Sar-e-Pol province after being kidnapped two days prior.
The group kidnapped on Monday included 10 people. One person was only injured by the insurgents and upon being found was taken immediately to a nearby hospital to receive emergency care.
Sar-e-Pol Governor Abdul Jabar Haqbeen said four bodies were found in the Katlar area, the capital of the province. Five others were discovered in the Bahawi area.
Nazari and the others, believed to be members of his campaign staff, were on their way to Katlar when they were kidnapped on Monday.
Haqbeen said authorities believed Nazari and two others were beheaded, though that could not be confirmed before medical examination of their bodies.
Insurgents have threatened election officials, candidates and voters ahead of Saturday's presidential and provincial council elections. In response, security forces have ramped-up their presence around the country and proactive clearing operations have been launched in a number of provinces.