Afghan minister assassinated


In Kabul, Defence Minister Mohammed Fahim demanded an immediate ceasefire, and ordered newly US-trained Afghan National Army soldiers deployed from the capital to try to calm the city.

Presidential spokesman Khaleeq Ahmed said only that Sadiq – son of Herat’s powerful governor, Ismail Khan – had been shot in his car in unclear circumstances.

Afterward, a top Herat military commander, Zaher Naib Zada, said that forces and soldiers loyal to Sadiq opened battle with machine guns, tanks and rockets for control of his division’s military barracks.

US forces at an American base in the city manned defensive positions within their post, military spokesman Lt Col Bryan Hilferty said in Kabul. The post holds fewer than 100 Americans, he said.

The president, who himself escaped a 2002 attempt on his life, said in a brief statement from Kabul that he was “deeply shocked” by the killing and offered condolences to Ismail Khan. Sadiq was widely viewed as his father’s representative in Karzai’s government.