KABUL, Afghanistan -- A car bomb possibly targeting a convoy of coalition soldiers killed three people in the Afghan capital yesterday, while officials added more than 30 troops and Taliban militants to the toll of those killed over the last few days.
The additional deaths -- including 20 Taliban militants, 12 Afghan troops, and a coalition soldier -- brought the toll to more than 190 people since Wednesday, when a storm of violence broke out in the south.
The country's foreign minister, meanwhile, asserted that Taliban leaders are living in Pakistan and coordinating terrorist strikes in Afghanistan from there, the latest barb between the neighbors who are both US allies in the war on terrorism.
Militants have detonated three car bombs around Afghanistan since Wednesday. The latest one exploded on a busy road that links several bases belonging to the US-led coalition and a separate NATO-led peacekeeping force.
A man walking nearby and the driver of a small truck were killed, the Interior Ministry said. The driver of the car, a taxi, also died. At least two people were injured.
The Interior Ministry's press office said the car bomb was a suicide attack, but General Mahboubullah Amiri, the commander of the rapid reaction forces for the Interior Ministry, said he thought the driver did not know the explosives were in his car.
Amiri said he believed the bomb, which set fire to the truck and a couple of roadside stalls, was detonated prematurely by remote control. A man who owns a shop near the explosion, Hatiquallah, said he saw a convoy of coalition troops passing by when the bomb went off. Officials said no coalition troops were hurt. Hatiquallah, who uses only one name, had minor shrapnel wounds from the blast.
In the south, in Helmand Province, three Afghan soldiers and a coalition soldier were killed in a gun battle Saturday, said Sergeant Chris Miller, a coalition spokesman. He said he did not know the nationality of the coalition soldier.
Twenty-five Afghan soldiers and a coalition soldier were also injured, said Miller. There were no immediate reports of militant casualties, he said.
The French Defense Ministry earlier announced the deaths of two special forces troops killed in neighboring Kandahar Province on Saturday.