U.S. forces backed by helicopter gunships killed 22 insurgents, including several Arabs, in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said Monday.

The fighting occurred late Sunday in Shinkay district of Zabul province (search), a hotbed of resistance to the U.S.-backed Afghan government, the military said.

Spokesman Maj. Scott Nelson said about 40 "enemy" fighters attacked a coalition patrol in Shinkay, who called for assistance from two Apache helicopters, which opened fire on the fighters, killing 22 of them.

Among the dead were three Arabs, the spokesman said. Another Arab was arrested. No coalition forces were hurt, he said.

The U.S. forces seized a global positioning system, a video camera with tapes, four grenades and two assault rifles, he said.

Nelson gave no further details about the identity of the fighters.

Guerrillas loyal to the former ruling Taliban (search) and their Al Qaeda allies are active in southern and eastern Afghanistan, despite the presence of 18,000 coalition forces who have been hunting for terrorist suspects since late 2001.