Interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has appealed to Afghanistan's most powerful warlords for unity and help in building a national army.
At a meeting today (Wednesday) in Kabul, Mr. Karzai met with several hundred uniformed militia officers and tribal chiefs.
Among them was ethnic Uzbek leader Rashid Dostum, who last year commanded a military alliance of ethnic Uzbek and Tajiks troops who liberated Kabul from Taleban rule. Mr. Dostum now serves as deputy defense minister in the interim government.
Ismail Khan, who controls the Herat area of western Afghanistan, also attended the meeting along with a special U-N representative.
Afterwards, Mr. Karzai was quoted as calling the meeting historic, noting that all of the country's core leaders had come together for the first time in 23 years to help set up an Afghan army.
Last week, 600 recruits from across the country were sent to Kabul to begin training for the national force.