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Afghan Warlord Denies Iranian Aid - 2002-02-10


Afghan warlord Ismail Khan has again denied charges he is receiving arms and money from neighboring Iran.

The powerful governor of Afghanistan's western Herat province says in a French Press Agency interview that he does not need arms from Iran. He says U-S charges of Iranian aid stem from political problems between Tehran and Washington, not facts on the ground.

Mr. Khan earlier denied the accusations in January. His latest comments follow talks with interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, who visited Herat last week to discuss Mr. Khan's alleged links with Iran.

Meanwhile, the Kabul-appointed governor of the eastern province of Paktia says he will attack tribal rivals who are preventing him from taking office.

Padsha Khan says he has six thousand fighters ready to battle forces loyal to a local council opposed to his appointment. The council charges Mr. Khan with corruption. He says they were supporters of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

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

Mr. Karzai hosted talks between the feuding factions that ended Sunday in Kabul without agreement.

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