KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — More than 100 people, including militants, civilians and police, have been killed in three days of fierce clashes between NATO and the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Monday.

To the east, U.S.-led coalition jets bombed a suspected al-Qaida compound, killing seven boys and several fighters.

Afghanistan has seen a spike in violence the last several days, leading to a mounting number of civilian casualties that are sapping support for foreign troops and the government of President Hamid Karzai.

Even though most civilian deaths are caused by attacks initiated by the Taliban, Afghan anger over civilian casualties is often directed toward U.S. and NATO-led troops. Such killings have prompted Afghan authorities to plead repeatedly for international forces to work more closely with Afghans.

But in Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban have launched what appears to be their biggest offensive of the year, forcing NATO troops to respond.

Dutch military officials said hundreds of Taliban fighters attacked police posts near the strategic town of Chora on Saturday, sparking a battle that officials said was continuing. The attack appeared to be a change in strategy by the insurgents, who had been relying on an increasing number of suicide and roadside bombings this year.

Maj. Gen. Jouke Eikelboom, director of operations with the Dutch military, said Karzai and the Uruzgan governor sought military support after the attack on the police posts.

A summary of fighter jet activity from Sunday sent out by the U.S. Central Command hinted at the ferocity of the battles, detailing at least eight aircraft dropping bombs or firing on the area.

Precise casualty figures were not available because of the continued fighting, though two Afghan officials said more than 100 people have been killed, including at least 16 police. A Dutch soldier also died.

Afghan officials said Taliban fighters sought shelter in civilian homes and that NATO bombers targeted them. Mullah Ahmidullah Khan, the head of Uruzgan's provincial council, called such deaths "friendly fire."

In eastern Paktika province, meanwhile, U.S.-led coalition warplanes targeted a compound Sunday that also contained a mosque and a madrassa, or Islamic school, resulting in the deaths of seven boys ages 10 to 16, said Gov. Akram Akhpelwak.

The governor said there normally is excellent coordination between the government and international forces but said he was not told of the missile strike in advance.

Authorities are working with foreign forces "to have better coordination and to not have these misunderstandings, but today we had a misunderstanding and the people will be unhappy," Akhpelwak told the Associated Press by telephone. "We will go to the area and discuss the issue with the people and apologize."

A coalition spokesman, Maj. Chris Belcher, said coalition troops had "surveillance on the compound all day and saw no indications there were children inside." Belcher, an American, accused the militants of not letting the children leave.

"If we knew that there were children inside the building, there was no way that that airstrike would have occurred," said Sgt. 1st Class Dean Welch, another coalition spokesman.

Reports of civilian deaths in Uruzgan were coming from various quarters.

One wounded man at the main Uruzgan hospital told the AP that 18 members of his family had been killed.

Khan estimated the clashes in Chora killed 60 civilians, 70 suspected Taliban militants and 16 Afghan police.

"I have talked to President Karzai and asked him to send helicopters to ferry the wounded to Kabul," he said.

An official close to the governor who asked not to be identified when talking about preliminary estimates, said 70 to 75 civilians were killed or wounded, while more than 100 Taliban and more than 35 police were killed.

But Maj. John Thomas, a NATO spokesman, said he doubted that Afghan officials could tell the difference between civilians and militants, suggesting some of the wounded who claimed to be civilians were insurgents.

Dr. Hajed Noor, a doctor at Uruzgan's main hospital in the provincial capital, Tirin Kot, said the hospital had received 34 wounded, including nine women and seven children. He said his patients reported that many other wounded were in the Chora district and couldn't make it to the hospital because of the fighting.

Speaking by phone from a hospital bed, Janu Akha, 62, said bombs hit his village of Qala-i-Ragh on Saturday.

"Eight bombs fell in my village," Akha said. "On Sunday my relatives buried 18 members of my family, including women and children."

Khan, the Uruzgan provincial council chief, said he talked to a man named Gul Mohammad at the Tirin Kot hospital who said 15 relatives, including women and children, had been killed. "I also saw Manan Jan in the hospital. He had 12 family members killed," Khan said.

Another doctor at the hospital, Mohammad Fahim, said: "Most of the people who were killed are still there (in Chora). They are not bringing the bodies here, so that is why we do not know how many have been killed."

In the capital, Kabul, police said they detained a suspect in connection with a bus bombing Sunday that killed at least 35 people, most of them police trainers. The suspect, whose name and nationality were not disclosed, had pictures of slain Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah in his phone, as well as text messages from a foreign country, police said.