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Top Taleban Commander Denies Reports of His Capture

A man claiming to be one of the Taleban's top commanders has denied reports he was captured last Wednesday in southern Afghanistan.

Mullah Dadullah told news agencies Saturday that he was not caught in the joint Afghan-coalition operation in Kandahar province. His claim that he is still at-large could not be immediately confirmed.

Dadullah, who lost one of his legs fighting for the Taleban in the mid-1990's, is one of the terrorist group's top commanders and responsible for militant operations in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, intense fighting between Afghan forces and Taleban militants intensified Saturday, where insurgents ambushed an Afghan army convoy in Helmand province. Afghan military officials say at least four soldiers were killed in the battle.

Fighting in recent days has been some of the fiercest since the Taleban were overthrown in 2001. The violence comes as NATO-led peacekeepers are moving into southern Afghanistan to take over the bulk of security responsibilities from U.S.-led forces.

Also Saturday, officials in France confirmed two French special operations forces were killed and one wounded in clashes with Taleban militants in southern Afghanistan.

In separate violence, U.S. military officials in Afghanistan say a U.S. soldier was killed and six others wounded in a battle with insurgents Friday.

The soldier was killed in the southern province of Uruzgan when Afghan and coalition troops encountered militants while conducting a joint security operation. More than 20 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year.

Fighting in southern Afghanistan Wednesday and Thursday left more than 120 people dead, including Taleban militants, a Canadian soldier and a U.S. civilian contractor training Afghan police.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.