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Afghan Aviation Minister Assassinated

Kabul, 21 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Unidentified attackers assassinated Afghan Aviation Minister Mirwais Sadeq today in the western city of Herat.

Government spokesman Khaleeq Ahmed said the assailants shot Sadeq in his car this afternoon. Sadeq is the son of Herat governor Ismail Khan.

Unconfirmed reports say Khan escaped a separate attack unhurt, but Ahmed said Khan had not come under attack.

Ahmed said Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai's defense and interior ministers are preparing to travel to Herat and that an emergency cabinet meeting has been called.

An RFE/RL correspondent in Afghanistan says fighting broke out between rival militias in Herat Province after the killing. According to unconfirmed reports, dozens of people have been killed in the fighting.

Sadeq is the third leading figure from Karzai's U.S.-backed interim administration to be assassinated. The killings remain unsolved.