Afghan and foreign troops clashed with Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan on Friday, leaving three suspected militants dead and two wounded, an official said.

Militants ambushed the security forces in Zabul province before troops returned fire, said district chief Mohammad Younus Akhunzada. No troops were hurt but a police vehicle was damaged.

There has been little let up in fighting by supporters of the former Taliban regime. In the first three months of 2007, some 769 people have been killed in insurgency-related violence, including 502 militants, according to figures from Afghan and Western officials tallied by The Associated Press.

Last year was the bloodiest since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, with more than 8,000 people reported killed in insurgency-related violence, according to the U.N.

In the east, meanwhile, the U.S.-led coalition forces detained 11 suspected insurgents, the coalition said in a statement Friday.

The troops nabbed the militants during a raid and searches of compounds in Tanai district of the eastern Khost province on Wednesday, the coalition said.

The suspects will be questioned for their links to foreign fighters, roadside bomb making and other extremist activities, it said.