updated 1/31/2005 3:27:25 AM ET 2005-01-31T08:27:25

A car loaded with explosives blew up in the Tajik capital Dushanbe on Monday morning, killing the driver and wounding three other people, the emergency situations minister said.

Emergencies Minister Mirzo Ziyoyev said the blast occurred outside his ministry, and three officers of the ministry were wounded. The blast also damaged five cars in the area.

Earlier, the deputy emergencies minister had said about a dozen people were wounded.

There was no immediate indication of who was responsible. Interior Minister Humdin Sharipov launched an investigation into whether the blast was a terrorist act.

Impoverished Tajikistan suffered five years of civil war between pro-Moscow and Islamic forces, which ended in 1997 with a U.N.-brokered power-sharing agreement, and it is a key channel for drugs being transported from neighboring Afghanistan to markets in Russia and Europe.

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