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Afghan Leader Meets With Ismail Khan

10 May 2004 -- Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai today traveled to the western city of Herat, where he met with the powerful regional leader and Herat governor, Ismail Khan.

Ismail Khan has consistently resisted central government calls to disarm his militia.

Karzai is expected to offer condolences to Khan over the death in March of Ismail Khan's son, Mohammad Mirwais Sadeq. Sadeq was serving as Afghanistan's civil aviation minister when he was killed in a gun battle in Herat. Khan has blamed a pro-Karzai commander for the slaying. Sadeq's grave was Karzai's first stop today in Herat.

Ismail Khan has been reluctant to hand over customs revenues to the central government and to support a national drive to disarm the nation's estimated 100,000 factional fighters.

Karzai's visit comes as fighting was reported in Faryab Province, northeast of Herat. Hashim Khan, a commander of the Jamiat-e Islami faction, says his forces yesterday captured 20 supporters of Jumbesh-e Milli, a group loyal to ethnic Uzbek commander Abdul Rashid Dostum. The claim could not be confirmed.