Two gunmen shot dead Muhammmad Isa, head of the Afghan Red Crescent in Zabul province, on Saturday near the provincial capital Qalat, the province's police chief Muhammad Ayub told AFP on Sunday. 

"He was killed yesterday, around evening when he was going to Naw Khiez village where he was living," Ayub said. 

Muhammad Isa, a former mujahedin commander, had received repeated threats from members of the ousted Taliban regime warning him to leave his job, according to a Red Crescent official. 

"He had received threats by Taliban several times before he was killed," Muhammad Salim told AFP. 

Suspects

Salim cited Isa's younger brother, who survived the attack, as saying that his attackers, whom he said were Taliban, had tried to force Isa to go to unknown place. When he resisted, he was shot dead. 

Ayub said six suspects had been arrested after the attack,
which led to security forces being deployed in the area. 

"We do not know who they were, right now we are investigating the case," he said. 

The killing was confirmed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society based in Kabul. "Yesterday, the head of the local Red Crescent of Zabul was killed in an ambush," said an official who asked not to be
identified. 

Previous incident

The deceased Red Crescent
official had received threats

Isa's murder followed that of a Turkish engineer killed in the same area on Friday. 

The engineer and an Afghan guard were killed while another Turkish engineer and an Afghan driver were kidnapped. 

President Hamid Karzai has condemned the attack on the Turkish engineers and offered his condolences to their families. The killings appear to highlight fears that the Taliban are becoming more active in Zabul, which was once their stronghold. 

Remnants of the hardline Taliban regime have repeatedly
threatened more attacks on US-led, pro-government troops and international aid workers. 

Afghanistan's government, which is backed by a 12,000-strong US-led military force, has not yet been able to extend its authority outside the capital where the remnants of the Taliban can find support among the population.

Civilians killed

"He was killed yesterday, around evening when he was going to Naw Khiez village where he was living."

Muhammad Ayub,
Qalat's police chief

Also on Sunday, it was revealed that three civilians were killed and seven wounded when an Afghan tank hit a mine in the central Uruzgan province.

The tank crew escaped uninjured, said Haji Faruq, an aide to the chief of the Charcheno district where the incident occurred on Saturday afternoon. 

It was not clear whether the mine had been freshly laid or had gone undetected in one of the world's most heavily mined countries.

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press said soldiers opened fire indiscriminately on surrounding homes and civilians after the tank hit the mine. Faruq told Reuters the civilian casualties were caused by the force of the blast.