The Afghan defense ministry says a top Taleban commander and several of his fighters have been killed in clashes with U.S.-led coalition forces in southern Afghanistan.

The ministry says the fighting, which also involved air support, took place early Thursday in Helmand province - a known Taleban stronghold.

It identified the dead commander, Mullah Brader, as a relative and close associate of Taleban chief Mullah Omar.

The U.S. military in Afghanistan has not commented.

Elsewhere in southern Afghanistan, one NATO soldier and an Afghan interpreter were killed while on patrol in the insurgency-hit southern part of the country Thursday.

A NATO statement said two other soldiers were wounded. It did not give details of the incident.


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