Fighting broke out again near Shindand in Afghanistan between the forces of Ismail Khan of Herat and those of his Pushtun foe Amanu’llah Khan. Five were killed and nine wounded in the battle. This struggle has flared into violence intermittently, as have similar conflicts among warlords near Mazar-i Sharif in the north and in Paktia province in the east.
Since the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan down to Karachi is going to have to pass through the region in which the new fighting occurred, it is a bad sign for the stability of the country and its future revenues. I thought last summer was too soon to begin to reign in the warlords, who after helped overthrow the Taliban and al-Qaeda. But this faction fighting is getting old and beginning to hurt the country’s prospects. President Karzai is helpless to intervene, and the US appears to think having a good talk with the warlords from time to time is enough.