The bullet-riddled bodies of seven Afghan soldiers who had been captured a month ago by an insurgent group have been found in the southern province of Zabul, authorities said Wednesday.

The bodies were found on Tuesday in the Tarnak area, on the outskirts of the provincial capital of Qalat, according to what the regional police chief, Ghulam Sakhi Rogh, told Afghanistan's Pajhwok news agency.

Zabul's deputy governor, Mohammed Jan Rasulyar, told the AIP news agency that the attackers had captured the soldiers as they were traveling in a vehicle on the highway linking Kabul with the southern city of Kandahar.

The bodies of the soldiers showed signs of torture and they had their hands tied, medical sources cited by Pajhwok said.

Violent incidents are regular occurrences in Afghanistan, especially in the southeastern part of the country, where the Pashtun ethnic group predominates and supports the Taliban insurgents.

The Afghan army and police since 2011 have been assuming more and more responsibility for security around the country due to the gradual removal of NATO forces, which will conclude their withdrawal next year.

The Afghan conflict is currently in one of its bloodiest periods since the U.S. invasion 12 years ago that toppled the Taliban regime. EFE