Blasts Kill Three Afghan Police, Injure Three NATO Troops

A roadside bomb killed three policemen Friday in eastern Afghanistan, while a suicide attacker wounded three British soldiers and an Afghan national in the country's south, officials said.

Coalition and Afghan forces also killed two insurgents and detained two recruiters of suicide bombers in central Oruzgan province, the U.S. military said. Afghan police and soldiers, meanwhile, battled Taliban militants near the southern city of Kandahar.

The violence comes amid a surge in attacks by remnants of Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers, who have vowed to intensify militant activity during the warmer spring and summer months.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack on the Afghan police convoy in Khost province, 90 miles south of the capital, Kabul, but the provincial police chief blamed the Taliban. The attack also wounded two policemen.

"It is the work of the Taliban," Mohammed Ayub said, without elaborating.

Hours earlier, a Taliban suicide car bomber rammed a British military convoy in southern Helmand's provincial capital of Lashkar Gar, wounding three British soldiers and one Afghan national, said coalition spokesman Canadian Maj. Quentin Innis.

The attack happened near the so-called British-run provincial reconstruction team base in Lashkar Gah.

A man driving a station wagon rigged with explosives struck the convoy at about 10:30 a.m., said provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Saber.

British troops cordoned off the attack scene near the British-run provincial reconstruction team base in Lashkar Gah, Saber said.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Qari Mohammed Yousaf, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that one of the hard-line Islamic movement's suicide bombers, identified only as Abdullah, carried out the attack.

Taliban militants have increased suicide attacks against coalition forces, particularly in southern Afghanistan, in recent months.

The change in tactics is of concern to the British military as more than 3,000 British troops take control of the area as part of a NATO mission.

On Thursday, Taliban gunmen killed a member of a pro-government Islamic body as he walked home from evening prayers in Zhali, 20 miles southwest of Kandahar, said Hafiz Sahib, a spokesman for the religious group, Zhali's Ulama Council.

Sahib said Taliban extremist had issued a death threat against Sayed Masoud Shah a month ago. Taliban militants oppose pro-government clerical bodies like the district ulama councils, which work directly with U.S.-backed Afghan authorities.