KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Clashes between supporters of two rival warlords in northern Afghanistan have killed one person and wounded five, an Afghan official said on Friday.
The incident, which took place late Thursday, followed days of simmering tensions after a poster of First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum was removed from a public square.
Ahmad Jawid Bidar, spokesman for the governor of Faryab province, said the shooting erupted in the provincial capital of Maymana where supporters of Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, fought with supporters of Atta Mohammad Noor, the acting governor of Balkh province and a Tajik.
Similar demonstrations have been reported in cities across the north, drawing attention to ethnic rivalries in the region. Dostum and Noor represent rival powerbases in the north, command private militias and have recently led their men against insurgents, independently of the Afghan army.
As anger surfaced after Dostum's poster was removed from the main square of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh, he called for calm in a Facebook posting.
Separately, in southern Kandahar province, Afghan Army Gen. Khan Agha Achekzay of the 205 Corps was killed when he was ambushed late Thursday in the Dand district, said Mohammad Hassan, corps spokesman.
One of the general's bodyguards was also killed and his son was injured, he said.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the killing.
The Taliban have been fighting hard in southern Afghanistan in recent months, mostly in Helmand province, which they consider their heartland along with neighboring Kandahar.
The region produces opium, a crop which helps fund the insurgency against the Kabul government, now in its fifteenth year.