|Dostum and Atta smile publicly,|
but are known to be bitter rivals
Officials from the Jamiat-i-Islami party of Mohammed Atta said two of their followers and two members of the Uzbek commander General Abdul Rashid Dostum’s group were killed in the Gosfandi area province of Sar-i-Pul late on Thursday.
General Abdul Majid Roozi, a deputy of Dostum said another member of their troops was killed the same day in another encounter with Atta’s men in the centre of Mazar, the key northern city in Afghanistan.
Roozi added that one of his commanders had been captured in Mazar and warned that fighting will spread unless the commander is freed.
Both sides blame each other
Both sides also fought for several hours in Daraye Souf region in the neighbouring province of Samangan on Thursday. There were no details on casualties
Officials of both factions accuse each other of starting the latest round of fighting.
Several dozens of civilians and fighters have been killed in factional fighting in northern regions since January 2002. Last week, six of Dostum's troops were also killed in a clash in the north.
Atta, an ethnic Tajik and Dostum, an Uzbek, are both members of President Hamid Karzai's government that came to power in the wake of the US-led war in 2001. Both have a long history of rivalry for control of northern Afghanistan.