KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Ten militant fighters were killed Wednesday when they attacked a U.S.-led force near the hometown Mullah Omar (search), the fugitive Taliban (search) leader, the American military said.
"Approximately 40 enemy forces engaged the coalition soldiers who were conducting operations in the area," U.S. spokesman Maj. Rick Peat said in an e-mail. "Approximately 10 enemy forces were killed in action, and five were wounded and captured."
Elsewhere, 11 Afghan militia soldiers were killed in an overnight ambush, underlining the violence that officials warn will increase in advance of presidential elections in October.
Peat said five militants and five government soldiers also were wounded in the battle near Deh Rawood, 250 miles southwest of the Kabul.
Deh Rawood mayor Amir Jan said three of the dead were brothers of a close associate of Omar.
Uruzgan police claimed Tuesday to have captured Mullah Amanullah, a brother-in-law of Omar, after stopping his car near Deh Rawood.
It was not clear what role Amanullah, who uses one name, held in the Taliban movement, which has fought frequent battles with American forces in the area this year.
The 11 militiamen were reportedly ambushed on patrol near Khana Shien in neighboring Helmand province.
Gunmen opened up on their pickup truck with AK-47s and machine guns and finished it off with a rocket, local government spokesman Haji Mohammed Wali said.
"There was nobody left," he said.
It was unclear if the attack was carried out by militants, drug-smugglers or factional rivals.
Wali also said that police detained another Taliban commander called Mullah Sardar in Helmand on Tuesday after stopping his motorbike on a road in the north of province.
Sardar, who was carrying a pistol and a satellite telephone, later told interrogators that Mullah Omar was still alive and leading the insurgency, Wali said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military said three militants attacked two sports utility vehicles carrying Afghan forces in southeastern Zabul province on Tuesday.
None of the 12 troops, who came under fire northwest of the provincial capital, Qalat, were hurt, the military said in a statement.
It was unclear if it was the same incident described by Afghan officials on Tuesday.
Zabul police had said the convoy was of American troops and that one was injured when it was attacked north of Qalat.