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Afghanistan: Angry Mob Kills Government Minister

Kabul, 15 February 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A mob of angry Muslim pilgrims attacked and killed Afghanistan's minister of aviation and tourism yesterday after flights to Mecca were delayed. Officials said Aviation and Tourism Minister Abdul Rahman was leaving for India when he was attacked by hundreds of pilgrims enraged over the delays.

The officials said the mob beat Rahman to death and police were unable to save him.

Today, armored vehicles from the international security force were deployed on the tarmac in the civilian area of the airport, where dozens of pilgrims were still waiting to depart for hajj despite a curfew imposed on the rest of the city.

The attack on the Afghan aviation minister came hours before British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw arrived in Kabul.

Straw is to hold talks with interim government leader Hamid Karzai and also visit the headquarters of the international security force, which is currently being led by Britain.