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Afghanistan: Five Reported Dead In Factional Fighting In North

Kabul, 29 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- An Afghan official says at least five people were killed and two wounded in factional fighting yesterday in Afghanistan's northern Balkh Province. Abdul Sabor, a spokesman for ethnic Tajik commander Atta Mohammad, said Mohammad's forces clashed with fighters loyal to ethnic Uzbek commander Abdul Rashid Dostum. Sabor said the fighting is continuing.

Both Dostum and Mohammad are part of the central Afghan government but also control large private armies.

In Afghanistan's southeastern Paktika Province, a security official said 500 troops will be deployed to secure the border with Pakistan's tribal regions. Daulat Khan told AFP that the troops will try to retake a border district controlled by remnants of the former Taliban regime.

Also in Paktika Province, the U.S. military said assailants yesterday fired rockets at the U.S.-led base in Shkin, but reported no casualties or damage.