The former king of Afghanistan is postponing a trip designed to gain support for a grand council to choose a new transitional government.
A royal spokesman in Kabul says Mohammad Zahir Shah has fallen ill, although the nature of the ailment was not disclosed. The 87-year-old former monarch, who returned to Afghanistan in April after three decades in exile, has been in frail health.
The king has been expected to open the upcoming Loya Jirga, or grand council, a week from Monday that is to choose a transitional government to replace the interim administration headed by Hamid Karzai.
Many hope the former king can be a unifying force if he is named head of state in the new government.
Meanwhile, U-S forces are reported to have blown up several caves in eastern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan as part of the continuing search for remaining al-Qaida and Taleban fighters.
The new U-S commander (General Dan McNeill) said Saturday his priority is to kill the remaining fighters, who he says will try to destabilize the new government. But he says coalition troops will not be used to provide nationwide security in Afghanistan.