The Afghan military says U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces have killed up to 37 suspected Taleban insurgents in separate incidents in central and southern Afghanistan.
The army commander in the south General Rahmatullah Raufi says 15 militants were killed and six others captured in a raid on their hideout in central Uruzgan province. He says a man believed to be a relative of fugitive Taleban leader Mullah Omar was among those killed in the fighting late Sunday.
The commander says 12 other suspected Taleban were killed in neighboring Kandahar province, and that 10 militants are believed to have been killed in southern Helmand province.
In other violence, two civilians were killed and at least six others were wounded in a bomb blast in eastern Paktia province.
And, two Canadian soldiers are in serious condition after being shot during a clash with militants near the southern city of Kandahar.
Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul, Ronald Neumann, said the upsurge in violence in Afghanistan is also being fueled by powerful drug cartels, in order to protect the source of their wealth. Neumann said the government of President Hamid Karzai has launched a strong policy to destroy poppy fields, and that there is a joint effort by drug dealers and terrorists to undermine those efforts