In Afghanistan, at least 50 people are reported to have been killed in a fierce gunbattle between ethnic Tajik and Pashtun factions in southwestern Herat province.
The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press says Tajik forces loyal to Herat Governor Ishmail Khan fought a pitched battle late Thursday with Pashtun forces of a local warlord Mohammad Kareem Khan.
The report, which could not independently confirmed, quoted a Pashtun spokesman as saying Tajik forces attacked their position near the town of Ghurian, about 70-kilometers west of Herat city.
There have been a number of ethnic clashes in the region in recent days. Last week, the Kabul government of President Hamid Karzai mediated a truce between Tajik forces and troops of another Pashtun warlord fighting near the strategic Shindad airport - a region that marks a boundary between areas controlled by the two ethnic groups.
The clashes, as well as recent assassination of two senior government officials - including Vice President Abdul Qadir - have raised concerns about continuing ethnic tensions. Many donor countries are withholding their pledged aid for re-building Afghanistan over concerns about security in the country.