Military officials say Afghan troops have killed at least 34 suspected Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan.

Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed Zahir Azimi says the fighting erupted Thursday after militants tried to attack Afghan forces on the main road between the capital, Kabul, and the southern city Kandahar in Zabul province.

Afghan troops retaliated, killing nearly three dozen people. A number of weapons were also captured at the scene.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, NATO and Afghan forces battled militants for a second day as they try to regain control of a remote district in Ghazni province.

Provincial officials say at least 15 Taliban militants have been killed since they launched the operation Wednesday in the Ajristan district.

Taliban militants took over the area on Monday, the latest in a series of strikes targeting remote areas.

Also Thursday, officials say four Afghan police officers were killed when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in the eastern province of Paktia.

And officials say three more police officers were killed in a similar incident in western Farah province Thursday.

U.S. commanders have been asking for three more combat brigades, or about 10,000 troops, to help confront rising violence in Afghanistan. But a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday the decision to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan will be left to the next presidential administration.

On Tuesday, the top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, said the U.S. does not have enough troops to send urgently needed military reinforcements to Afghanistan. He said U.S. troops are heavily committed in Iraq.

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