Afghan authorities say NATO and Afghan forces have killed at least 15 suspected Taleban militants in a fierce battle in southern Helmand province.

The police chief in Helmand,Ghulam Nabi Malakhel, says the three-hour battle took place Thursday in the mountainous Kajaki district. He says NATO and Afghan troops did not suffer any casualties.

The police chief says among those killed was a deputy to Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, a senior Taleban military commander who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Helmand province last month.

In a separate incident in Helmand, police say three suspected Taleban militants were killed when explosives they were planting went off accidentally.

More than 4,000 people were killed in Afghanistan in 2006, during a resurgence of Taleban-led attacks against U.S., NATO and Afghan forces.