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Afghan Ministry Denies Claims About Weapons Distribution

Militiamen wait to turn in their weapons.
Militiamen wait to turn in their weapons.
KABUL -- The Afghan Interior Ministry has rejected claims by the governor of northern Balkh Province that the ministry has given guns to some groups there, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Balkh Governor Ata Mohammad Noor -- a supporter of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah -- said on September 9 that the Interior Ministry had distributed guns to some groups in the province's northern districts, a move he said could "destabilize" Afghanistan.

Noor, a prominent leader of local mujahedin, was speaking at a ceremony marking the 2001 death of mujahedin leader Ahmad Shah Masud.

Noor also said there was a high level of fraud in last month's presidential elections, adding that "no internal or foreign force can crack down on the demands of the independent Afghan nation."

Noor accused Interior Minister Hanif Atmar of filing "poisonous" and baseless reports about the provincial government to the National Security Council (NSC), President Hamid Karzai, and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Afghanistan.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said that Noor's comments create disorder and are politically self-serving. The ministry said it has sent the case to the NSC and the General-Prosecutor's Office for consideration.