War in Afghanistan .
Shows what we're up against , evil cowards .
(Reuters) - Taliban fighters beheaded two boys aged 10 and 16 as a warning to villagers not to cooperate with the Afghan government, local officials said.
The boys, named Khan and Hameedullah, had travelled to Afghan army and police checkpoints near their home in the southern province of Kandahar, scrounging for leftover food to bring to their families, the officials said.
"The boys were on their way back ... when they were stopped by Taliban insurgents who beheaded them," the chief of Zhari district, Jamal Agha, told Reuters. "Both of them were innocent children and had nothing to do with government or foreigners."
The militants have beheaded dozens of people in the last two years, accusing them of aiding the government and its foreign backers led by the United States.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, said the group was not involved in the boys' killings.
The Kandahar governor's spokesman, Javid Faisal, said the incident occurred on Sunday. Several hours later their bodies and severed heads were left in their village, he said.
Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and one of Afghanistan's most restive provinces.
In July last year in the same district, a 16-year-old boy accused by the Taliban of spying for the government was beheaded and skinned.