Opposing warlords clash in Afghanistan's Faryab province

Six people were killed and an unknown number were injured on 22-23 February when commanders loyal to former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani's Jamiat-e Islami party clashed in Faryab Province's Pashtunkot District with commanders loyal to Deputy Defense Minister General Abdul Rashid Dostum's Junbish-e Melli party, international news media reported. Iranian radio reported that the fighting began after an Interior Ministry delegation arrived to replace Faryab Province Governor Mohammad Saleh Zari. Hindukosh news agency cited General Abdul Sabur, an official from the Mazar-e Sharif military corps, which is allied with Jamiat-e Islami, as saying forces loyal to General Dostum initiated the battle when they attacked troops led by Abdul Rasul, a commander loyal to Jamiat-e Islami. Sabur said the fighting ended on 23 February. Zari is believed to be loyal to Dostum. In late January, five people were reported killed and an undisclosed number injured in fighting that took place between rival commanders in Faryab Province (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 January 2003). AT


Both Germany and the Netherlands said on 21 February they might pull their troops out of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan if tensions in Iraq spark anti-Western sentiment, RFE/RL reported the same day. German Defense Minister Peter Struck said his country might withdraw its forces if a war in Iraq escalates tensions in Kabul, the report added. Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Bart Jochems said his country also has plans to withdraw its troops if anti-Western sentiment threatens troops in Kabul, where the ISAF operates. Germany and the Netherlands took over command of the ISAF from Turkey on 10 February (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 February 2003). On 9 February, Struck said German troops serving with the ISAF would remain in Afghanistan even in the event of a war in Iraq (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 13 February 2003). AT


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