updated 5/9/2004 4:08:24 AM ET 2004-05-09T08:08:24

An explosion set a U.N. vehicle on fire in eastern Afghanistan, injuring its Afghan driver, the United Nations said Sunday, in what appeared to be the second attack on election workers in less than a week.

The vehicle was hit Saturday morning near Grabawa, a village in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province about 60 miles south of the capital, Kabul, U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said.

Four Afghan U.N. election staff traveling in the vehicle were unhurt, and the driver was released from a hospital later Saturday after treatment for minor injuries, Almeida e Silva said.

"They all managed to get out of the car before it was engulfed in flames," he said.

Almeida e Silva said investigators were still trying to establish if the explosion, which burst open the vehicle's fuel tank, was caused by a mine or a remote-controlled bomb.

"We don't know whether or not this vehicle yesterday was targeted," the spokesman said.

But Gen. Mohammed Yunus Noorzai, the Nangahar police chief, blamed anti-government militants for what he said was a deliberate attack.

"We suspect Taliban or al-Qaida behind this incident," Noorzai told The Associated Press, but offered no information to back up his assertion.

Two British contractors helping the U.N. prepare elections slated for September were killed on Wednesday in Nuristan, a remote eastern province.

The Afghan government has yet to release the results of an investigation into the killings, which the two men's London-based firm blamed on "local bandits." A spokesman purporting to speak for the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

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