NATO's chief says alliance forces in Afghanistan will not enter neighboring Pakistan to hunt militants there.

But Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says soldiers have the right to defend themselves if attacked from across the border.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday, de Hoop Scheffer said NATO will not seek a wider U.N. mandate allowing forces to target militant hide-outs in Pakistan.  

President Karzai told reporters the fight against terrorism is not in Afghanistan, and the country will not be secure unless the international community addresses the question of sanctuaries in Pakistan.

Afghan and U.S. officials have expressed concerns that militants are using Pakistan's tribal areas as a base for attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The NATO chief today said Pakistan must be part of a regional solution to the problem.

Separately Thursday, Afghan officials said dozens of Taliban militants have been killed during a clash with Afghan troops in the country's southern Zabul province.

The fighting erupted when militants tried to attack Afghan forces on the main road between the capital, Kabul, and the southern city of Kandahar.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, NATO and Afghan forces killed at least 15 militants today, as they tried to regain control of a remote Ajristan district in Ghazni province.

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 today.

In other news, the European Union today named Italy's ambassador to Kabul, Ettore Sequi, as its new special representative in Afghanistan.

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