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Ethnic Clashes Erupt in Afghan Capital; 1 Killed

Afghan police open fire on a crowd of Hazara Afghans on the outskirts of Kabul, 13 Aug 2010

Afghan officials say clashes between rival ethnic groups have broken out in the capital, leaving one dead and several injured.

Witnesses said the fighting erupted Friday in the Kotasangi area of Kabul when a group of Hazara villagers confronted Pashtun nomads in a dispute over land.

The Hazaras destroyed several mud homes inhabited by the Pashtuns before Afghan police and army troops arrived at the scene to intervene.

A group of Hazara villagers staged a protest after the clashes and accused security forces of firing on them.

Pashtun nomads traditionally move around Afghanistan in a caravan, but have frequently clashed with Hazara communities when passing through central Afghanistan.

Several months ago, President Hamid Karzai, who himself is a Pashtun, issued a decree discouraging Pashtuns from traveling through Hazara-dominated areas.

Some of the nomads have since settled on the outskirts of Kabul, angering Hazara villagers nearby.

Meantime, at least two NATO soldiers have been killed during fighting in southern Afghanistan.

The international force said its soldiers were killed Friday in attacks by insurgents. No other details were released.

The international force also announced the capture of a Taliban sub-commander involved in improvised explosive device attacks.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.