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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 20:10 GMT
New governor for troubled Afghan province
Akund Zada (right), envoy of the new Interim Government of Afghanistan, greets Padsha Khan
Padsha Khan has vowed to fight his successor
By the BBC's Kate Clark in Kabul

The interim government in Afghanistan has appointed a new governor for Paktia province where fighting broke out late last month over who should be the governor.

The new man is Taj Mohammed Wardag, who worked as a governor before the civil war.

His predecessor, Padsha Khan Zadran, has already vowed to fight him.

The new governor has the reputation of being a diplomatic figure with pre-civil war experience of working as a governor.

His new job does not look like being an easy one.


Padsha Khan was sacked after his fighters tried to take the provincial capital by force late last month.

Taj Mohammed Wardag
Taj Mohammed Wardag faces a tough task

They were beaten off by men loyal to the local council, or shura.

Padsha Khan has said the new governor is unacceptable either to himself or to the tribes and people of Paktia.

He has threatened to return to the province and stage a war.

There has been no reaction yet from the shura.

Before, they said they would accept anyone except Padsha Khan.

It is not clear how much local support he would have for an armed revolt or how forcibly the interim governor would be prepared to deal with the former appointee.

Forces operating under the interim government's defence ministry moved as far as the outskirts of the provincial capital under American firepower last month.

But they stayed out of the fighting, as did US special forces based at a nearby airfield.

See also:

04 Feb 02 | South Asia
UN 'averts war in Mazar'
03 Feb 02 | South Asia
Karzai tackles warlord dispute
30 Jan 02 | South Asia
Rival factions clash in Gardez
23 Oct 01 | South Asia
Mazar-e-Sharif's bloody history
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