New Herat governor wants aid agencies back
* Afghan HR group welcomes replacement of western strongman
* New governor assures United Nation staff of safety
KABUL: The new governor of Afghanistan’s riot-hit western province of Herat has told the news agency that he hopes aid agency staff, who pulled out of the provincial capital after violent attacks, will return soon.
The United Nations and several non-governmental agencies withdrew staff from the troubled city of Herat on Monday after their offices were attacked in weekend rioting by mobs unhappy over the sacking of governor Ismail Khan.
Agencies pulled more than 60 of their workers out of the city after demonstrators attacked their aid offices on Sunday. Four people were killed and more than 50 were injured in the clashes.
“Today I met with the UN staff, they complained about what happened,” governor Sayed Mohammad Khairkhwa told the news agency by telephone. “I assured them that it will not be repeated again, we will do anything that we can to ensure their safety,” he said, noting the aid workers were most needed in Herat.
“They will leave for a few days — I hope they will come back very soon,” Khairkhwa said. “II’m very sorry and sad over what happened to the United Nations and non-governmental offices here in Herat.”
Khairkhwa said he had been appointed to head the region with the aim of securing peace.
“Herat has had problems internally and with neighbouring provinces in the past — the government considered me suitable to resolve these problems,” Khairkhwa said. During his first day at work he met governors of neighbouring provinces who assured him of their cooperation, Khairkhwa said.
Khan, besides resisting a national disarmament programme, had been criticised by human rights’ groups for his Taliban-style restrictions on women. “I will provide civil rights for the citizens including women,” Khairkhwa said of his plans, asking people, including his predecessor, to cooperate in achieving the goals.
Meanwhile, A leading Afghan human rights body on Tuesday welcomed the replacement of western strongman Ismail Khan, whom it has accused of rights violations.
“The human rights commission welcomes the recent administration change in Herat province,” Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission spokesman Nader Ahmed Nadery told the news agency. afp
Militiaman loyal to Ismail Khan killed
HEART: Unidentified attackers on Tuesday shot and killed a militia fighter loyal to the ousted governor of the western Afghan city of Herat after a weekend of rioting there that followed his dismissal. The militiaman was killed after two men in a four-wheel-drive vehicle armed with AK-47 assault rifles opened fire on his car, Herat intelligence chief Juma Adil told the news agency. Another man in the car was wounded, he said, adding that the attackers escaped. Herat was the scene of unrest at the weekend after US-backed President Hamid Karzai sacked the powerful provincial governor, Ismail Khan, as part of his pledge ahead of Oct 9 presidential elections to rein in regional warlords. reuters