Afghan officials said Taliban militants have attacked and killed 20 bodyguards outside the home of a senior district chief in the southern province of Helmand.

Authorities Thursday said Mullah Abdul Salaam, the chief of Musa Qala district and a former Taliban member, was not home at the time of the attack.  

The Taliban claimed responsibility for Wednesday's ambush in Helmand's Kajaki district, saying at least one of the guards was a Taliban sympathizer who helped assist the gunmen.  A Taliban spokesman said two militant fighters died and four others were wounded in the attack.

The Taliban controlled Musa Qala for much of 2007, until Afghan and international forces pushed them out in a major security operation.

Still, the militants remain in control of several other districts in Helmand, one of Afghanistan's main drug-producing regions.

Separately, the NATO military alliance Thursday confirmed two foreign soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan Wednesday.  Authorities identified one of the soldiers as British, but did not immediately release the nationality of the second soldier.


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