The Taliban have also threatened to attack Nato soldiers deployed in the south of the country, Aljazeera reported on Saturday.

For its part, the US military said US-led forces in Afghanistan have killed five Taliban fighters, including key leaders, in an attack on a training facility.

The US military did not identify those killed during Friday night's raid in the village of Qala Sak in southern Helmand province, near the border with Pakistan.
   
In a statement, the military said: "Among those killed were key senior leaders of the Taliban network who have conducted attacks against coalition and Afghan forces, Afghan officials and civilians.

"This was a highly successful mission based on solid tactical intelligence and co-ordinated joint ground and indirect fires."

There were no reports of injuries to civilians or damage to property, the statement said, adding that the troops had also discovered a large arms cache in the village.

Mounting attacks

The raid was the latest in a series of operations launched by US-led forces since last week in southern Afghanistan in response to mounting attacks by insurgents.

Separately, police said two civilians were killed and two others wounded during a rocket attack on the capital, Kabul, on Friday night, by the "enemies of Afghanistan", a term used for the Taliban and their allies.

About 3,000 Afghans have fled
their homes in the Kandahar area

Afghanistan is going through its most intense violence since US and Afghan opposition forces ousted the Taliban in late 2001 for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden, architect of the September 11 attacks on the US.

Nearly 300 people have been killed in battles, ambushes and bombings since last week, according to the US military and Afghan officials.

Most of the dead were fighters but dozens of Afghan police, soldiers and at least 17 civilians have also been killed, along with four foreign soldiers.

About 3,000 people have fled their homes in an area of Kandahar that has borne the brunt of the latest violence, in the biggest displacement of civilians since the toppling of the Taliban government.

The Taliban and their allies, fighting to oust foreign forces and defeat the government, mostly operates in the south and east of Afghanistan.