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Saturday, 16 February, 2002, 12:39 GMT
Kabul fears after minister's murder
Northern Alliance troops in Kabul
Kabul waits to see if more instability will follow
By the BBC's Michael Voss in Kabul

The assassination of Afghanistan's Minister of Aviation Abdul Rahman has shaken both the new government and the international security force based in Kabul.

After more than two decades of war, Afghanistan's transition towards a democratic form of government was never going to be easy.

The interim administration agreed in the German city of Bonn last year tried to produce as broad based a cabinet as possible, incorporating most of the major ethnic and political groupings who were opposed to the Taleban.


Kabul is now waiting nervously to see how the powerful Jamiat faction will react to seeing senior colleagues behind bars

The interim leader, Hamid Karzai, stands above the fray in that he is not a former warlord with his own army.

The lion's share of power, however, rests with Jamiat-e-Islami.

This Northern Alliance faction from the Panjshir Valley was the first to march into Kabul when the Taleban fled.

Today they control the defence, interior, justice and foreign affairs ministries, as well as the security and intelligence services.

Explosive

Abdul Rahman also came from Panjshir Valley, but he had left Jamiat to become a supporter of the former king.

Afghan Civil Aviation Minister Abdul Rahman
Abdul Rahman - killed for leaving Jamiat?

In a country where old scores are often settled by violence, this could be a reason behind his death.

What makes his assassination so potentially explosive is that those who have been arrested are senior Jamiat officials.

They include generals from the defence and interior ministries.

The fact that Hamid Karzai reacted swiftly, publicly announcing the arrests, is a bold gamble.

The capital is now waiting nervously to see how the powerful Jamiat faction will react to seeing senior colleagues behind bars.

Questions are also being asked about the role of the British-led international security force, Isaf.

Despite a presence at Kabul Airport, they failed to save the murdered minister.

Their mandate is to assist the Afghan authorities. Now it seems some of those in authority were behind the plot.

See also:

16 Feb 02 | South Asia
Farewell to murdered Afghan minister
15 Feb 02 | South Asia
Crowd trouble mars Kabul football match
15 Feb 02 | South Asia
Kabul goes football crazy
15 Feb 02 | UK Politics
Straw caution on more troops
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