why is it that no one here ever gets the ball rolling on THESE issues? i can guess why Afghan Minister, 50 to 100 Others Killed 25 minutes ago By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer KABUL, Afghanistan - Soldiers loyal to a local commander shot and killed Afghanistan's aviation minister Sunday in the western city of Herat, setting off a big gunbattle in which as many as 100 people died vicious factional fighting, the commander told The Associated Press. In Kabul, President Hamid Karzai's Cabinet convened in emergency session after the killing of minister Mirwais Sadiq a son of Herat's powerful governor and dispatched extra troops to try to calm the city. Presidential spokesman Khaleeq Ahmed said only that the minister had been shot in his car and circumstances were unclear. However, a top Herat military commander, Zaher Naib Zada, told AP by telephone Sunday night that his forces had killed Sadiq in a confrontation after the minister went to Zada's home to fire him. Afterward, Zada's forces and soliders loyal to Sadiq began fighting with machine guns, tanks and rockets for control of the city's main military barracks. Zada said between 50 and 100 soldiers were killed in the first hours of the ongoing battle. Sadiq is the third leading figure of Karzai's government, and the second aviation minister, to be killed. The father of the slain minister, Ismail Khan, is a former anti-Soviet commander who runs a large private army and has had firm control over Herat since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001. But there have been persistent tensions and occasional factional fighting between his men and those loyal to rival warlords. Sadiq was widely viewed as his father's representative in Karzai's government. State television had reported that Sadiq's father, Khan, had escaped a separate attack unhurt. The presidential spokesman and other officials, however, said there had been no attack on Khan. Aid workers in the city speaking by phone reported gunfire and heavy explosions and said they had been ordered to stay indoors. U.N. workers scrambled into a bunker at their headquarters. A police officer, Fahim, reached by telephone at the main police station, gave a different account, saying Sadiq had gone to Zada's residence to ask him about the killing of three civilians by Zada's forces two days earlier. Karzai's defense and interior ministers were preparing to travel to Herat to try to determine the circumstances of the killing, and the battles that followed, his spokesman said. The president, who 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. Karzai's first civil aviation minister, Abdul Rahman, was assassinated Feb. 14, 2002, at Kabul's airport, in circumstances that remain unclear. Gunmen shot and killed Vice President Abdul Qadir in the capital on July 6, 2002. Both of those killings remain unsolved. Karzai has been constantly shadowed by Afghan and American bodyguards armed with automatic weapons since a September 2002 assassination attempt in the southern city of Kandahar. Three people, including the gunman, died in that attack. His government includes an uneasy alliance of former warlords who had joined forces to help the United States rout the former Taliban government. His government still is trying to assert control nationwide, including over Herat and its customs revenue as a major port of entry on the Iranian border. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- let's hope iraq doesn't go the way afghanistan is going years after our 'liberation'!