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Powerful Afghan Governor Agrees To Disarm

21 May 2004 -- The U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan said on 21 May that the country's most powerful governor, Ismail Khan, has agreed to cooperate with the central government in the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program.

Zalmay Khalilzad said in a statement the agreement was secured yesterday.

Khan, who is governor of Afghanistan's western Herat Province, was among several commanders who were not cooperating with Kabul in the DDR program.

Afghanistan this week started implementing the main phase of the program, which seeks to disarm 60 percent of an estimated 100,000 armed militiamen ahead of next September's presidential elections.

Earlier this month, the United Nations expressed its concern at the stalled disarmament process.