KABUL (AFP) - A wave of clashes in Afghanistan killed 70 people, including nearly 20 police Friday, officials said, as the country welcomed in its New Year amid alarm about a mounting Taliban-led insurgency. The unrest has led Washington to deploy 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan, due in the coming weeks, in a move a Nato General said Friday would trigger more violence but would help improve security in the longer run. Police meanwhile said they had thwarted a New Year bomb attack in the Afghan capital when they captured a man carrying a home-made device that he said was intended for the US Embassy. Nine of the policemen were killed along with a district chief in a clash Friday with Taliban in the northern province of Jawzjan, an unusual battlefield for the extremists, who focus on southern and eastern Afghanistan. "Today in a clash between Taliban and police, the district chief and nine police were killed," provincial police chief Khalil Aminzada told AFP. The fighting was in a district called Koshtipa, on the border with Turkmenistan, he said. Nine other policemen were killed and three wounded in the southwestern province of Farah when a mob of Taliban attacked them, provincial governor Rohul Amin told AFP. Six of the attackers also died in the fighting, he said. The clash followed fighting earlier in the day when Afghan and US-led troops were called in after intelligence was received of a plan to attack the governor's home, Amin said. Seven Taliban were killed in that exchange, he said. Elsewhere in Farah Friday, a suicide bomber blew up a bomb-filled police vehicle and killed one policeman and wounded two, the Governor said. The deadliest fighting was on Thursday, when Afghan and US-led troops killed 30 militants in the flashpoint southern province of Helmand, in a district where a key anti-Taliban lawmaker was killed in a bomb attack the same day. The Afghan army led a joint patrol into an area of Gereshk district where gunmen were known to operate and they came under attack, the US military said in a statement. The "combined element returned fire with small-arms and close air support, killing 30 militants," it added. The US military also announced Friday that six more alleged insurgents were killed in operations in Kunar, Logar and Helmand provinces. Dutch commander Maj-Gen Mart de Kruif, who heads Nato troops in the south, said Friday that the arrival of more US troops would trigger a rise in violence but reinforcements would improve security in the longer run. "I'm absolutely sure that we will see a very important year in RC (Regional Command) South, that we will see a spike in incidents once the US force hits the ground, but the situation will significantly change in a positive way within the next year," Kruif told reporters by video link. Afghanistan will Saturday mark the start of its New Year, based on the solar calendar also observed in Iran.