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Afghan Factions Honoring Cease-Fire

18 August 2004 -- An Afghan militia commander and a spokesman for the governor of Afghanistan's Herat Province say their forces are honoring a ceasefire that came into place yesterday.

Militia commander Amanullah Khan today said his forces are honoring the agreement. Sayed Nasir Alawi, a spokesman for Herat Governor Mohammad Ismail Khan, today said forces loyal to Ismail Khan are also observing the cease-fire.

U.S. envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad helped broker the cease-fire after the Herat governor requested his help. Yesterday, Khalilzad said a "significant number" of people were killed in days of intense fighting.

Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for an urgent increase in international forces in Afghanistan to combat a worsening security situation there. Annan expressed hope additional NATO troops would arrive in time for Afghanistan's 9 October presidential election.