Two NATO soldiers died battling militants in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, while U.S.-led and Afghan troops backed by airstrikes killed two militants and detained nine others, officials said.

The two soldiers from NATO's International Security Assistance force died in "separate engagements with enemy fighters," an ISAF statement said. ISAF did not release other details such as the soldiers' nationalities or where the combat took place.

In the central province of Uruzgan, militants attacked troops from the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces in the Khas Uruzgan district on Tuesday, a coalition statement said.

The guerrillas retreated into a compound that was later bombed by coalition aircraft, the statement said.

Two suspected militants were found dead after the clash and nine "enemy fighters" were detained, it said. Troops also recovered weapons and ammunition from the compound.

To the southeast, coalition and Afghan troops on Wednesday raided a suspected Taliban hide-out in Zabul province, detaining 10 suspected fighters, the coalition said. Two of the ten were apprehended while trying to flee.

Southern and eastern Afghanistan are at the center of the Taliban-led insurgency against Afghan and foreign troops.

Both military and militant operations are intensifying, raising doubts about the prospects for stability more than five years after a U.S.-led invasion drove the Taliban from power.

In eastern Paktika province, a local district chief was killed in an explosion Wednesday caused by a mine he tried to remove from a road, said Mohammad Akrem Akhpelwak, the provincial governor.