KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Taliban-led violence flared across Afghanistan on Friday, with three Afghan soldiers killed in a roadside bombing and three British troops wounded in a suicide attack, officials said.

Afghan forces backed by coalition helicopters also battled insurgents in the volatile southern province of Kandahar. Taliban-linked gunmen there shot dead a member of a pro-government Islamic council after he left a mosque late Thursday.

U.S. and Afghan forces hit back with an operation in the central Oruzgan province late Thursday, killing two insurgents and capturing two men who had been recruiting suicide bombers to attack coalition and Afghan troops, the American military said.

The violence follows recent threats by Taliban forces to step up attacks against coalition and Afghan soldiers during the warmer spring and summer months. Coalition forces have been particularly disturbed by an increase in suicide attacks.

Police accused Taliban militants of detonating a roadside bomb that killed three Afghan policemen and wounded two others in the Khost province, about 90 miles south of the capital, Kabul.

“It is the work of the Taliban,” provincial police chief Mohammed Ayub said.

Hours earlier, a Taliban suicide car bomber rammed a British military convoy in the southern Helmand provincial capital of Lashkar Gar, wounding three British soldiers and one Afghan national, coalition officials said.

British spokesman Capt. Drew Gibson said the injuries were minor.

The attack took place near the British-run provincial reconstruction team base in Lashkar Gah and was carried out by a Taliban militant identified only as Abdullah, said the extremist group’s purported spokesman, Qari Mohammed Yousaf, in a telephone interview.

Separately, Afghan security forces battled Taliban militants Friday in Sangisar, a town 25 miles southwest of the southern city of Kandahar, said local Afghan army commander Gen. Rahmattalluh Roufi.

A military spokesman in Kandahar, Canadian Maj. Quentin Innis, said coalition helicopters patrolled overhead during the engagement, but he provided no further details.

An AP reporter about a half mile from Sangisar said he saw helicopters launch missile attacks, but it was unclear if the barrage caused any casualties.

On Thursday, coalition and Afghan troops backed by U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunships killed two insurgents and detained two others responsible for recruiting suicide bombers in the Oruzgan district of Chora, about 200 miles west of Kabul, a U.S. military statement said.

Taliban gunmen were also blamed for Thursday’s killing of Sayed Masoud Shah, a member of a local pro-government clerical body in Zhali, a town about 20 miles southwest of Kandahar.

Shah, a member of the Zhali Ulama Council, was killed after leaving a mosque, said council spokesman Hafiz Sahib, noting that Taliban extremists issued a death threat to Shah about one month ago.

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