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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Afghan factions back Karzai
Poster of Hamid Karzai in Kandahar
Mr Karzai looks set to continue as leader

Key commanders in Afghanistan have nominated interim leader Hamid Karzai to be their candidate as the next head of state.

Afghan soldier in Kandahar
Factions are in control
The decision was announced after a series of meetings between Mr Karzai and leaders representing rival factions from across the country.

A final decision on this and appointments to the cabinet will be taken by a national assembly, or Loya Jirga, which meets in 10 days' time.

Those who have chosen Mr Karzai are some of the most powerful men in Afghanistan.

They include:

  • Ismael Khan, the strongman of the west
  • Allies of General Dostum, the main power in the north
  • The current defence and interior ministers, both leaders from the dominant armed faction in Kabul
  • Factional leaders from the south, east and centre of the country.

'Carve-up'

One of the commanders who was at the meeting denied there was any discussion of who should be in the next cabinet, but officials also present have described the different armed factions haggling over who will get key positions.

Former King Zahir Shah
The former king will preside over the Loya Jirga
There have been many complaints of intimidation and bribery from most areas of Afghanistan, where the armed factions are dominant.

Even so, some genuine community leaders are getting through the selection process, under the gaze of the UN-supported Loya Jirga commission, and international monitors.

However, independent delegates will be asking how much they will really be able to influence decisions at the Loya Jirga.

What the dominant factions are doing in Kabul is perfectly legal, but it still looks like they are attempting a carve-up.

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The BBC's Hilary Anderson
"From the information they're getting so far, there are no al-qaeda left in this area"
Author Dilip Hiro
"Each of the warlords have their own system"

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19 Apr 02 | South Asia
15 Apr 02 | South Asia
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