LASHKARGAH, AFGHANISTAN: Up to 45 militants have been killed and 35 others injured as a clash erupted in Taliban former stronghold the southern Helmand province on Saturday, an army spokesman in the province Mohammad Rasoul Zazai said.

 "A group of Taliban militants were attempting to storm security checkpoints in Sangin district early Saturday but the security forces acting upon intelligence report laid ambush and killed 45 armed insurgents on the spot and injured 35 others," Zazai told Xinhua.

 The Taliban after suffering casualties fled the area, the official added.

 Taliban militants, however, without commenting on the situation in Sangin district, claimed that the insurgent group attacked security checkpoints in Shana Gombad locality in the outskirt of Helmand's provincial capital Laskhkar Gah late Friday night killing over two dozen soldiers.

 Notorious for growing poppy and insurgency, Helmand with Lashkar Gah as its capital 555 km south of Kabul has been regarded as Taliban hotbed in southern Afghanistan. 

Taliban militants have been fighting government forces in several districts of the restive Helmand province over the past couple of years.