NATO officials say a sharp rise in violence in eastern Afghanistan may be linked to Pakistan's peace deal with militants in the border area.

NATO alliance spokesman James Appathurai Wednesday said the number of violent incidents was up 50 percent last month from the same time last year. He said there is concern the increase is partly because of deals struck by the Pakistan government and extremist groups in Pakistan's tribal region.

Appathurai said NATO does not want to engage in the internal politics of Pakistan, but the concern has been communicated to authorities. He said NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will travel to Pakistan for talks in the near future.

Pakistan's new government is pursuing peace negotiations with al-Qaida-linked Taliban militants along the Afghan border.

Separately Wednesday in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, police say 10 militants and two policemen were killed in a gunbattle in the Marja district.

Also today, Afghan authorities say a teacher who had spoken out against suicide bombings was shot and killed in the northern province of Kunduz.

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