Afghan soldiers killed 18 militants targeting a poppy eradication force in the country's volatile south, officials said on Wednesday. Two soldiers were also killed in the battle.
The clash in the Nawa district of Helmand province broke out after insurgents fired on police working to rid the countryside of poppy plants, from which opium is made, said Daud Ahmadi, spokesman for the governor.
Afghan and international soldiers were protecting the eradication force when it was attacked Tuesday, and two foreign soldiers were wounded in the exchange, said Ahmadi. He did not provide the soldiers' nationalities.
In neighboring Kandahar province, meanwhile, a remote control bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded on Wednesday in Kandahar city as a convoy of soldiers was passing, said army commander Sher Mohammad Zazai. Two Afghan bystanders were killed, and eight people including five soldiers were wounded, he said.
The US-led coalition said that Afghan and coalition forces killed 10 militants in Uruzgan province on Tuesday. A "precision" airstrike was called in, killing most of the militants, the coalition said.
Militant violence has risen dramatically the last three years. President Barack Obama this month announced the deployment of 17,000 additional US forces to bolster the record 38,000 Americans already in the country.