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Afghanistan: Rumsfeld Meets With Dostum, Peacekeepers

Mazar-e Sharif, 4 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is in Afghanistan today on a one-day visit, where he met with warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum. Rumsfeld started his trip in the northern town of Mazar-e Sharif, where he and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad met with commanders of a British civil-military reconstruction team.

He then held talks with an Afghan warlord, Abdul Rashid Dostum, whose ethnic Uzbek faction has been accused of acting too slowly in disarming. Defense officials say that while Dostum's faction has handed over three tanks to Afghan security forces, his rival, Ata Mohammad, has handed over more than 50.

Rumsfeld is expected to also meet with Mohammad and is later due to visit Kabul for talks with Afghan Transitional Chairman Hamid Karzai and commanders of the NATO-led security force in the country.