Rumour of Khost warlord’s arrest sparks clash, 15 killed
KABUL: Fighting erupted in the Afghan city of Khost on Sunday with at least 15 people reported dead after a rumour that a renegade warlord was arrested by the US forces, while 16 others were also killed in the province over a land dispute.
Two factions fought pitched battles around the governor's building in the eastern city after one faction leader, thinking his rival had been arrested by US troops, launched an attack and won small territorial gains.
The Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said at least 15 fighters and civilians had died in the clash and more than 51 were wounded.
Padshah Khan Zadran, a renegade warlord wanted by the central authorities in Kabul for openly defying Karzai's rule, had not been arrested, however, but had met a US delegation just outside the eastern city of Gardez. Hakim Taniwal, the official governor of Khost province, said his men had forced Zadran's fighters out of the governor's building they were illegally occupying, but that they were still holding out in the mayor's building.
Another 16 people have been killed in fighting between two rival Afghan tribes in the southeastern province of Khost, residents said on Sunday. The clash on Saturday was part of an old feud over land between rival tribes north of the city of Khost, they said. “Neither side seems to be giving any concessions in the dispute that they have. The issue has remained unresolved and they might clash again,” Nasrullah, a shopkeeper said.—AFP/Reuters