Officials said on Wednesday that five Taliban rebels were killed and two were arrested early on Wednesday during an operation in Chora district of strife-torn Uruzgan province, which is in southern Afghanistan.
  
"The joint forces launched an operation in the area, and after hours of fighting they killed the five Taliban, among them a famous Taliban commander called Mullah Painday Mohammed," Uruzgan governor Jan Mohammed said.
  
A large cache of weapons and explosives were also seized, he added.
  
Six more Taliban rebels were killed on Tuesday when joint forces surrounded a house in Sahak, a remote village in the restive southern province of Zabul, where the rebels were manufacturing remote-controlled roadside bombs, an official said.
  
"After more than one hour's exchange of fire, six Taliban were killed and lots of weapons, explosives and remote-control devices were seized," said provincial spokesman Gulab Shah Ali Khail.   

There were no casualties amongst the Afghan or US-led troops, he said.
  
Fighters from the ousted Taliban government have stepped up attacks before the polls on 18 September. 
  
About 1000 people have been killed in violence in Afghanistan so far this year, compared with 850 in 2004.

Spanish troops
  

Seventeen Spanish soldiers
were killed in a helicopter crash

Spain's Defence Minister Jose Bono said on Wednesday that a fatal helicopter crash in Afghanistan was unlikely to have been caused by an attack as he defended Spain's role there against criticism from left and right. 
  
Bono said investigators had found no evidence that an attack caused the 16 August crash, which killed 17 Spanish soldiers working with the NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF).
   
But parties on both sides used the parliamentary committee to attack the Socialist government over Afghanistan. 

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero pulled Spanish troops from Iraq soon after taking office in April last year but sent more troops to Afghanistan to boost security before elections there next month.