A remote-controlled bomb ripped through a vehicle in volatile southern Afghanistan, killing a district government chief and two police officers, and wounding three others, authorities said Saturday.

The blast occurred Friday evening on a road in the Shawali Kot district north of Kandahar, deputy district police chief Obaidullah Khan said.

District administration chief Hayatullah Popul and two police officers traveling with him were killed, and three other officers were seriously wounded, Khan said, blaming the bombing on Taliban insurgents.

It came amid an increase in rebel attacks that has left almost 1,500 people dead this year, mostly in southern and eastern Afghanistan.