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Several Suspects Held in Alleged Anti-Karzai Plot

April 03, 2002|From Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — Police arrested a onetime aide of former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for allegedly conspiring against the interim government of Prime Minister Hamid Karzai, state television announced Tuesday.

Wahidullah Sabaun and several associates linked to Hekmatyar's Hezb-i-Islami party were arrested Monday by Afghan security forces at a home in an upscale neighborhood of the capital.

Television reports said they were suspected of plotting against the government but did not give any details. For the last several years, Sabaun had been aligned with the Northern Alliance, whose forces drove the Taliban from power last year.

Hekmatyar had been a vocal opponent of Karzai and of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, but last month his deputy said the party was ready to cooperate with the interim administration.

Ruthless power struggles among Hekmatyar's forces and Northern Alliance factions devastated much of Kabul and killed 50,000 people, mostly civilians, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Hekmatyar fled to Iran after the Taliban took the capital in 1996. The Iranian government recently closed his offices in Tehran, and his whereabouts are unknown.

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