Three civilians, a police chief, three other Afghan police officers and more than 17 Taliban militants were killed in three clashes in southern Afghanistan, officials said Monday.
The civilians were killed when the Taliban attacked a vehicle belonging to intelligence officials Sunday evening in Gardiz, the capital of the south-eastern province of Paktika, said Esmatullah Alizai, provincial police chief, reported dpa.
The agents escaped the attack unhurt but the three civilians were killed in the cross-fire, Alizai said.
In the southern province of Ghazhi, Taliban militants attacked a police convoy in the Zena Khan district Sunday evening, killing the police chief of the district and three of his bodyguards, said Haji Mohammad Zaman, deputy provincial police chief.
The attack also wounded seven police, Zaman said, adding that there were Taliban casualties but did not give any numbers.
Also on Sunday, Afghan and international forces clashed with a group of Taliban in Helmand province, killing 17 militants and wounding six, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The US-led coalition also said Monday that its forces killed several militants and arrested another Sunday in the Tala-Wa-Barfak district of the northern province of Baghlan.
The militants belonging to the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalist group that ruled Afghanistan until the US-led 2001 invasion of Afghanistan forced it from power, were accused of being involved in planning roadside bombings in the area.
Four other militants were arrested by the Afghan National Army and coalition forces Sunday in the south-eastern province of Khost, another military statement said.
The southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan have been hotbeds of the Taliban insurgency. More than 2,500 people - insurgents and civilians - have been killed in violence so far this year.