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Calm Reported In Herat, 22 Killed In Zabul

13 September 2004 -- Calm returned to the western Afghan city of Herat today following days of bloody clashes sparked by the dismissal of the local governor, Ismail Khan.

At least seven people were reported killed and at least 20 injured in the violence. During the unrest, hundreds of demonstrators attacked UN buildings in Herat and clashed with U.S. and Afghan National Army forces.

Khan, who was sacked by Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai on 11 September, appealed to his supporters in a speech last night on local television to put an end to violence.

Roadblocks were removed from the city center this morning and traffic was reported to be flowing normally and shops were open.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has condemned the attack on UN offices in Herat.

The UN has said it plans to withdraw most of its staff from the city.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says 22 suspected Taliban fighters and Al-Qaeda militants were killed in fighting overnight in Afghanistan's southeastern Zabul Province.

U.S. military spokesman Major Scott Nelson told reporters in the capital Kabul that the fighting erupted late last night after some 40 militants armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked a U.S. position in the Shinkay District of Zabul.

Nelson said three of the militants killed in the battle were Arabs. He did not identify their countries of origin.