The U.S. military in Afghanistan said Afghan and U.S.-led troops have killed 33 militants in separate clashes in Helmand and Logar provinces.

A combined force of troops came under heavy fire Thursday while on patrol in Gereshk district of the country's volatile Helmand province.  The U.S. said troops returned fire after determining there were no civilians in the area, killing 30 insurgents.  One Afghan soldier was wounded.

Southern Helmand province is one of Afghanistan's most dangerous areas, with Taliban militants in control of large swaths of territory and supported by the region's lucrative illegal opium trade.

On Friday, the U.S. said three militants were killed during a raid on a bomb-making operation in eastern Logar province.

Insurgent violence in Afghanistan is at its highest level since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban-led government in 2001.  The Obama administration is conducting a review of U.S. policy there and has already approved the deployment of an additional 17,000 U.S. troops.

Militants target U.S., NATO and Afghan forces and, increasingly, Afghan lawmakers.  On Thursday, a roadside bomb in Helmand province killed Dad Mohammad Khan, a prominent lawmaker who was openly critical of the Taliban.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the bombing and praised Khan as a leader who worked to bring peace to the region.



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