Air strikes, gun battles and attacks killed 34 people across Afghanistan on Wednesday, including a government official shot dead with three of his sons near the Pakistani border, officials said.

In the latest bloodshed blamed on Taliban rebels who recently vowed to step up attacks against the Western-backed government, a district governor and his grown-up sons were ambushed and killed in the east, the interior ministry said.

Mohammad Nader, governor of the Omna district in the eastern province of Paktika, was travelling home with his family near the Pakistan border when armed insurgents attacked, the ministry said.

The governor exchanged fire with his attackers but it was unclear whether the assailants suffered any casualties, it added.

The interior ministry and local government in Paktika blamed the attack on the Taliban, who have strongholds in the province along the porous border with Pakistan, where militants have carved out safe havens in the mountains.

Elsewhere in Paktia, Afghan security forces backed by NATO troops and air power killed at least 15 insurgents in the early hours, the alliance said.

The insurgents were killed in air strikes and gun battles after attacking the combined troops during a security patrol, the statement said.