At least another 17 people are said to have died in clashes involving government forces, US-led coalition troops and the Taliban in the south of the troubled country.

The Canadian Defence Minister John McCallum confirmed the death of the two soldiers on Thursday, but insisted it would in no way shake Canada's determination to remain in Kabul.

The minister said the explosion also left three other Canadian soldiers wounded.

Reports from Kabul said the Canadians, on patrol in a jeep, were hit when their vehicle apparently ran over a land mine.

Clashes

Afghan officials meanwhile said at least 17 people have been killed in clashes involving government forces, US-led coalition forces and the Taliban in the south of the country.

Ten government soldiers and two children were killed on Wednesday night in a Taliban attack in Nish, some 60 km north of Qandahar, government commander General Atta Muhammad said.

A Taliban fighter also died in the attack. Four other suspected Taliban fighters were reported to have been killed in the same area when US helicopters fired at their vehicle.

More than 300 people have been killed in Afghanistan in renewed violence since early August.