Afghanistan's interior ministry says suspected Taleban insurgents have ambushed a police convoy in southern Helmand province, killing 19 policemen.

A ministry spokesman said a senior provincial police official, Amanullah Khan, was among the dead. He said four officers were wounded in the attack late Monday and at least five others are missing.

The convoy was traveling along a remote mountain road when dozens of militants ambushed it, triggering a gunbattle that lasted for several hours.

The spokesman blamed the attack on "enemies of peace," a term frequently used by Afghan officials to refer to Taleban rebels.

Earlier Monday, insurgents carried out two suicide bombings in the nearby southern city of Kandahar. Three people, including a former factional commander, Agha Shah, were killed in one of the attacks.

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