More than 600 suspected Taliban militants have been killed since a U.S.-led offensive began last month in southern Afghanistan, a coalition spokesman said Tuesday.

Col. Tom Collins said the 600 militants have died in combat since Operation Mountain Thrust started June 10. The offensive is aimed at crushing the deadliest spate of Taliban violence since the hard-line regime's 2001 ouster.

CountryWatch: Afghanistan

More than 10,000 U.S.-led troops have been operating in former Taliban strongholds across southern Afghanistan. The region has witnessed the brunt of the deadliest upsurge in Taliban-led violence since the hard-line regime's 2001 ouster.

The bloodshed also threatens to spread into previously calm western Afghan provinces.