updated 7/6/2007 9:33:13 AM ET 2007-07-06T13:33:13

Afghan and U.S.-led coalition troops, using artillery and airstrikes, killed 33 Taliban fighters after the insurgents attacked a police checkpoint in southern Afghanistan, officials said Friday.

The militants attacked two police vehicles with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades. Coalition and Afghan forces responded in what the coalition described as a “sparsely populated area” in Uruzgan province.

Gen. Zahir Azimi said 33 Taliban fighters were killed. The coalition reported there were no indications of civilian casualties from the fighting and said no coalition or Afghan forces were killed or wounded.

Violence has spiked in Afghanistan in the last several weeks. More than 3,000 people have died in insurgency-related violence in Afghanistan this year — including more than 2,000 militants, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials. More than 1,000 people were killed in June alone.

Suicide bomber injures NATO troops
Elsewhere, a suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy east of the capital, leaving two soldiers with minor wounds, Afghan officials said.

The bomber damaged both vehicles in the two-vehicle convoy in the Dah Sabuz district of Kabul province, said Zemrai Bashary, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

NATO confirmed the blast, and said that two of its troops were wounded, without disclosing their nationalities. Mohammad Sardar, an Afghan soldier at the site, said the wounded were British.

The attack took place a day after another bomber in the south blew himself up at a checkpoint, killing 10 police and wounding 11, while a roadside bomb and clashes in the east left three NATO soldiers dead, authorities said. The alliance did not release the soldiers’ nationalities. Most foreign troops in the east are American.

The latest NATO casualties raised the number of foreign soldiers killed this year to at least 105.

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