An Afghan official says gunmen shot dead a policeman and two civilians after security forces stopped the car and motorcycle in which they were traveling, both of which were loaded with explosives.

Provincial police chief Gen. Fazel Ahmad Sherzad says the vehicles appeared to be on their way to government offices in Batikot district, in Nangahar province, early Wednesday.

Police spokesman Hazerat Hussain Mashreqiwal says that when the police stopped the vehicles a total of six gunmen opened fire, killing the three people and wounding seven civilians. Mashreqiwal says some of the gunmen were killed, but he does not yet know how many. Police later seized the explosives-laden vehicles.

Many parts of Nangahar, near the Pakistan border, have a heavy Taliban presence and are no-go areas after dark.