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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Afghan city tense after protests
Gen Dostum
Gen Dostum has fallen out with the regional governor
Hundreds of people have protested for a second day in the northern Afghan province of Jowzjan, demanding the removal of governor Joma Khan Hamdard.

The provincial capital, Sheberghan, remains tense, with Afghan security forces and Nato-led troops on patrol.

Eight people were killed and more than 30 injured on Monday. Eyewitnesses said police fired on the protesters.

Governor Hamdard says the protesters support his rival, controversial Uzbek politician Gen Rashid Dostum.

But a spokesperson for Gen Dostum said the demonstration was a public uprising against the governor.

Alliance becomes feud

Schools and shops in Sheberghan were shut and normal life came to a standstill on Tuesday.


Protesters chanted "Death to Hamdard" and "Hamdard leave Sheberghan".

A delegation from the Interior Ministry is in the city to investigate the violence.

The BBC's Daud Qarizadah in Kabul says Mr Hamdard is a key former member of the Hezb-e-Islami party of renegade Afghan leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and he was seen as an important ally of Gen Dostum during the civil war.

Our correspondent says it is not clear what caused the political differences that made the two men rivals.

But he says many observers believe Gen Dostum - who once enjoyed huge support in much of northern Afghanistan - cannot tolerate old allies emerging as political figures.

Gen Dostum is one of the most controversial figures in Afghan politics.

In the 1980s he backed the invading forces of the Soviet Union against the Mujahideen rebels. He then played a prominent role in the civil war that destroyed much of the capital, Kabul, and left thousands dead.

In 2001, while helping the US, his militias were accused of suffocating hundreds of Taleban prisoners to death by locking them inside shipping containers.

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