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Two Rival Afghan Factions Go to Kabul for Peace Talks - 2002-02-08


The leaders of two Afghan tribal factions that have been battling for control of the eastern Afghan town of Gardez traveled to the capital, Kabul, today (Friday) for talks aimed at resolving the bloody dispute.

At least 50 fighters were killed last week when forces from the different clans of the majority Pashtun ethnic group battled for the town of Gardez -- raising questions about the Kabul government's ability to impose its authority throughout the country.

Representatives of warlord Bacha Khan, the governor of Paktia province appointed by the interim administration, and his main rival, Haji Saifullah, went to Kabul at the request of the interim government.

Meanwhile, ethnic tensions are simmering in the northern Afghan town of Mazar-e-Sharif -- which is planning to have its 600-member strong security force fully in place by next week. The city is home to powerful ethnic Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostum and groups that are either Tajik or Hazara.

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