The U.S. military says American and Afghan troops have killed 17 insurgents during two days of fighting in southern Afghanistan.

A statement issued Wednesday says the soldiers also captured six insurgents during clashes Monday and Tuesday in Zabul province.

Meanwhile, Afghan officials say suspected Taleban militants have killed a senior, pro-government Muslim cleric. They say attackers on a motorbike shot Saleh Mohammed as he walked to his mosque in southern Helmand province. The cleric is a member of Afghanistan's influential Ulema Council.

His assassination is the latest in a string of attacks against pro-government clerics in the run up to Afghanistan's parliamentary elections, set for September.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.