A roadside bomb killed three tribal elders in western Afghanistan on Sunday, possibly in retaliation for their cooperation with the government.
The men were driving to a meeting with villagers and other tribal elders to discuss what sort of projects the Afghan government and international donors should fund when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb, killing all of them, officials said.
One of the dead, Sayid Ahmad, was the head of the group of tribal elders who organized the meeting, said Abdul Basir Kherkywi, the head of Farah Province's local council.
The meeting was common knowledge in the area and officials said the men were probably directly targeted.
"The enemy probably knew they'd be driving on this road," said Yonus Rasouli, the deputy governor.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban and other insurgent groups regularly target Afghans working with the government or international forces.
Such attacks increased dramatically last year. According to the U.N., civilian deaths jumped 15 percent in 2010 to 2,770 because of increased insurgent attacks, while those attributed to U.S.-led forces dropped 26 percent.
Also Sunday, a NATO service member was killed in an attack in the north of the country, the international military coalition said. It did not provide further details or the nationality of the dead.
Meanwhile, Afghan officials said they captured a district-level Taliban commander in southern Uruzgan province. Kareem Daad, who was captured in an overnight raid, oversaw insurgent operations in Shahidi Hassas district, said Milad Ahmad Mudasir, a spokesman for the provincial government. Taliban representatives could not be immediately reached to confirm whether Daad was one of their operatives.