At least 15 members of the Afghan security forces have been killed in a gunbattle with the Taliban in the volatile southern Uruzgan province, an official said on Wednesday.
The fighting took place late Tuesday night during an operation to reopen an important highway in the province, said Mohammad Nabi Niazo, the Dihrawud district police chief.
Taliban gunmen had blocked the highway between Dihrawud and the provincial capital, Tarin Kot, for almost four days, he said.
Following the deadly firefight, Afghan forces have retaken control of the road, Niazo added. Eight members of the security forces were wounded during the operation.
However, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousaf Ahmadi said that the battle for control of the highway is still going on.
Niazo had no information of any casualties for the Taliban during the battle.
The Taliban have in recent months stepped up their attacks in Uruzgan and neighbouring provinces in the south, including the Taliban heartland of Helmand where much of the world's illicit opium is produced. The crop, along with other contraband, funds the Taliban militancy, now in its fifteenth year.