Authorities in southern Afghanistan say suspected Taleban insurgents have shot and critically wounded a pro-government Islamic cleric.

They say Mawlawi Mohammad Nabi Masah, a member of the influential Ulema Council of clerics, was ambushed and shot Sunday as he was leaving home near Kandahar city.

Elsewhere, Reuters news agency reports U.S. warplanes have again pounded suspected militant positions in eastern Kunar province. U.S. forces are searching the rugged area for a Special Forces unit that has been missing since Tuesday, just before a helicopter going to its rescue was shot down, killing all 16 troops on board.

Afghan government officials say a similar U.S. air strike in Kunar late Friday caused casualties. There are conflicting accounts whether civilians were killed.

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