KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Clashes and bombings left up to 34 Taliban fighters and one policeman dead in five separate incidents in central and southern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.
Police recovered the bodies of seven suspected Taliban fighters after a two-hour clash with police in a mountainous southern region of Helmand province, district police chief Ghulam Rasool said.
NATO-led soldiers, meanwhile, killed up to 10 suspected insurgents in Helmand's Garmser district Tuesday, a NATO statement said. There were no NATO casualties.
Afghanistan has been suffering its heaviest insurgent attacks since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001. On Monday, three bombings killed 19 people, including four Canadian soldiers.
Suspected Taliban fighters ambushed police in Ghazni province Tuesday. Provincial police chief Tafseer Khan claimed that 13 fighters were killed. But he said no bodies had been recovered because the insurgents removed them from the battlefield.
Khan also said that two police and about 17 fighters were wounded in the fight in the Giro district.
Four insurgents were killed in a clash with Afghan soldiers in eastern Paktika province Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said. The troops recovered an unspecified amount of ammunition and a mortar.
In the central province of Wardak, one policeman was killed and two wounded after dozens of fighters attacked police, said Mohammed Hassan, the deputy provincial police chief. One of the officer's legs was severed by a rocket-propelled grenade.
A roadside bomb wounded three Afghan soldiers in neighboring Khost province, the ministry said.
Elsewhere, assailants threw a grenade at a wedding celebration, killing five women and wounding 18, an official said.
Four suspects were detained after the blast Monday in the village of Sayadan, about 40 miles north of Kabul, said Abdul Jabar Takwa, the governor of Parwan province.
Both the groom and bride came from poor families and the motive for the attack appeared to be a private feud, he said.
An American civilian contractor and an Afghan interpreter, meanwhile, surfaced unharmed at the main NATO base in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, two days after being ambushed by gunmen in southwestern Nimroz province, said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, a U.S. military spokesman.
Fearing that the pair had been kidnapped, U.S. troops launched a two-day search and rescue mission in the area, Fitzpatrick said. But the two appeared at Kandahar Air Field on their own.
The two work for U.S.-based L-3 Communications Titan Group, which provides interpreters for the U.S. military in Afghanistan.