Three Afghan civilians and two members of the US-led coalition were also wounded in the ensuing gun battle, the statement issued on Saturday said.

No further information about the location or nature of the incident was currently available, Major Steve Wollman said.

Eastern and south-eastern Afghanistan, which borders the rugged tribal lands of Pakistan, is an area of activity for both the Taliban and rebels from the Hizb-e-Islami movement led by former Afghan prime minister and wanted suspect Gulb al-Din Hikmatyar.

The US is leading a force of around 18,000 troops to hunt rebels who have been waging a three-year-long rebellion in south and southeast Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government.