* Killings bring back memories of Taliban rule
* Authorities call for investigation
* Taliban deny role in killings
By Ahmad Nadeem
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the Taliban on Monday of beheading 17 villagers, including two women,
in volatile Helmand province, in a gruesome attack recalling the dark days of the hardline group's rule before their 2001 overthrow.
The killings, in a district where U.S. Marines have long battled with a resilient Taliban, could be a sign the Islamist group is reasserting itself
before the planned pull-out of most NATO combat troops in 2014.
Karzai ordered a full investigation into the "mass killing", which a local official said was punishment meted out to revellers attending a party
with music and mixed-sex dancing.