Clashes in Afghanistan Leave 20 Suspected Taliban, 2 Officers Dead

Suspected Taliban militants attacked a district office in central Afghanistan in a clash that left 15 militants and two officers dead, the ministry of interior said in a statement Monday.

The Sunday attack in Jalarez district in Wardak province also left a district chief and 10 militants wounded, the statement said.

In neighboring Ghazni province, Afghan police and soldiers launched a joint operation against militants in Andar district, which left five suspected Taliban dead and seven wounded, said Mohammad Kazem Allayar, the province's deputy governor. Authorities also detained 22 suspected militants, he said.

The clashes in the two central provinces came at a time when NATO and Afghan troops are stepping up pressure against militants in the insurgency-wracked south.