updated 2/19/2007 1:16:52 AM ET 2007-02-19T06:16:52

A roadside bomb targeting police involved in poppy eradication killed three officers and wounded three others in western Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

The policemen were returning to their base Sunday after a day of destroying poppy fields in western Farah province when a roadside blast hit their vehicle, said police spokesman Barijalaj Khan.

In Ghor province, meanwhile, a clash between poppy farmers and police conducting eradication left one civilian dead and two wounded, said deputy provincial governor Kramuddin Rezazada.

Some 500 people had gathered to protest government attempts at poppy eradication following last year's record crop.

Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium poppy. In 2006, production in the country rose 49 percent to 6,700 tons -- enough to make about 670 tons of heroin.

The government rejected U.S. offers of ground-spraying and pledged it would step up poppy eradication using tractors and manpower.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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