Afghan confronts warlord in northwest area

April 9, 2004 at 9:11 AM
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MAIMANA, Afghanistan, April 9 (UPI) -- Afghanistan sent soldiers Friday to a provincial capital in a northwestern province that has been overrun by fighters loyal to an Uzbek warlord.

Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, a security adviser to President Hamid Karzai, was in apparent control of Maimana, capital of the northwestern province of Faryab, the Financial Times reported.

Hundreds of armed followers began throwing rocks at the governor's office, causing him to flee and seek refuge at the airport, said Ali Jalali, the interior minister.

Jalali said defense ministry troops stationed in Faryab under the command of Gen. Hashim Habibi left the capital without resisting Dostum's militia.

"What General Dostum has done is against all military rules and the constitution of Afghanistan," Jalali told a press conference in Kabul. "While warlordism persists in this country, problems like this will continue to occur."

The government dispatched 750 soldiers from its new national army to restore order in the city and would send a group of newly trained police to back them up, Jalali said.

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