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Curfew after Afghan clashes


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Khan was ousted a month before presidential elections in Afghanistan.

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The Afghan city of Herat has been placed under a nighttime curfew after clashes on Sunday killed eight people.

Crowds ransacked and set fire to U.N. buildings and government and aid offices. In scuffles with police, 15 people were also wounded, 4 of them critically.

The demonstrators were angry at President Hamid Karzai's decision to dismiss local warlord Ismail Khan as the provincial governor. Some were armed with sticks and stones, which they hurled at the U.N. buildings.

Khan was dismissed a few days ago from his post as Herat's provincial governor and was offered a position as a minister of mines.

Khan rejected the offer, saying he was more qualified to govern Herat. Despite his rejection, his replacement has been named and is expected to arrive in the province on Sunday.

The United Nations has praised the move to replace Khan, making the agency a target of his angry supporters.

Jean Arnault, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), praised Khan's replacement, and another new governor in the neighboring province of Ghowr.

Arnault said the appointments offered "an opportunity to prevent further fighting; to reassure the population; and to ensure the peaceful preparation of the upcoming presidential election."

Herat has been the scene of recent clashes between government troops and Khan's forces, which have controlled Herat since the fall of the Taliban in November 2001.

Tensions rose in the province after Khan's son, Civil Aviation Minister Mirwais Sadiq, was killed in March during a battle with government troops.

Khan's ousting comes less than a month ahead of October 9 presidential election, in which 18 candidates are running for the post, including Karzai.

Journalist Wahidullah Mayar in Kabul contributed to this report.


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