At least 17 Afghan insurgents and one U.S. soldier were killed in a fierce clash in southern Afghanistan near the troubled Pakistan border, the U.S. military said Tuesday
U.S. forces were ambushed Monday by insurgents with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades while on a routine patrol near Dai Chopan in Zabul province, U.S. military spokeswoman Lt. Cindy Moore said.
“U.S. and coalition aircraft arrived at the scene and provided continuous close air support,” a statement from the U.S. military said.
Moore said follow-up operations were continuing.
The area is a hotbed of activity for the Taliban, who are waging an insurgency against a U.S.-led force that helped overthrow their government in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
The Taliban have stepped up their insurgency in recent months, ahead of parliamentary polls scheduled for Sept.18.
Hundreds of people have died in militant-related violence this year, the bloodiest since the Taliban’s overthrow.