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Kabul-Appointed Governor Threatens to Fight Ethnic Rival for Provincial Control - 2002-02-10


A Kabul-appointed Afghan governor is threatening to attack a tribal rival who has prevented him from taking office.

Padsha Khan -- an ethnic Pashtun appointed governor of Paktia province by the interim national government -- says he has six thousand fighters ready to battle forces loyal to a local council who oppose his appointment.

Recent fighting between the two factions killed about 50 people and forced Padsha Khan and his followers to flee the provincial capital, Gardez.

Interim government leader Hamid Karzai has personally intervened in the dispute, and hosted talks between the feuding factions that ended today (Sunday) in Kabul without agreement.

Mr. Khan has accused his rivals of supporting al-Qaida terrorists -- an allegation local leaders vehemently deny. They accuse Padsha Khan of corruption.

Earlier today, Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah warned that remnants of the ousted Taleban regime remain at large in the country, while other Taleban driven from the country in the U-S-led war on terrorism have regrouped outside the country.

Mr. Abdullah said very little information is available about the new groups. But he said it is unacceptable for the Taleban to be able to operate anywhere, in any capacity.

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