A NATO soldier and more than a dozen rebels have been killed in eastern Afghanistan, the US military said Saturday, with Taliban-linked violence spiralling weeks before presidential elections. Troops with the coalition International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) came under fire from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades as they tried to search a house Friday in the east of the country, the military said. "It was during this exchange that one ISAF soldier was killed," the statement released early Saturday said, without revealing the nationality of the dead soldier or the exact location of the clash. "The ISAF soldiers returned fire and called in close air support to neutralise the enemy threat, dropping three bombs and killing several insurgents," it added.