US soldiers, four Afghan civilians, a police officer and 22 Taliban fighters were killed in a series of blasts and clashes in Afghanistan, officials said Saturday, dpa reported.
The two US soldiers serving under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were killed in a roadside bomb blast on Saturday, the alliance said in a statement, but did not provide further details.
The latest deaths bring to 23 the total number of US troops so far killed in Afghanistan in January. Last year, with the deaths of 520 foreign soldiers including 317 US troops, was the deadliest year for US and NATO troops since their deployment to Afghanistan in late 2001.
Three women, who were traveling in a vehicle in the south-eastern province of Paktika, were killed when suspected Taliban insurgents opened fire on their passenger car on Saturday, a separate ISAF statement said.
One more woman and two men riding in the same vehicle were wounded, it said.
Also on Saturday, another civilian - a teenaged boy - was killed by a roadside bomb in the neighbouring province of Khost, the ISAF statement said.
Afghan officials in the eastern region could not confirm Saturday's incidents.
In another incident, eight Taliban militants were killed in ongoing operations that began on Friday night in the northern provinces of Baghlan and Kunduz, Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a spokesman for police forces in the region said.
He said one police officer was also killed in the clash in Baghlan province, while six militants were detained during the operations.
Separately, Afghan and NATO forces raided a compound in Nad Ali district of the southern province of Helmand on Friday night, killing 14 suspected Taliban militants, Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor said.
He said the targeted militants were making roadside bombs in the compound. An airstrike was also used, he added.
The latest violence comes a week ahead of a conference on Afghanistan in London, where the Afghan government is expected to present a new peace plan to lure Taliban militants away from violence.
The Islamic extremist Taliban, who were ousted from power some eight years ago, have again become an increasingly powerful force in Afghanistan.