The head of the interim administration of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has promised to step down as head of state if during the next three to four months he will be unable to regain control over the provinces ruled by ethnic leaders and field commanders. (Mazar-i-Sharif is under one of the leaders of the former anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, ethnic Uzbek General Dostum, while Herat is controlled by Tajik Ismail-Khan. A number of Pashto-speaking southern provinces are the scene of bitter strife between former Mujahideen and tribal chiefs.) According to Karzai, the people are getting increasingly disappointed of their government unable to control some provincial governors. The president claims that some leaders collect huge taxes, which instead of being sent to Kabul are spent on their own needs, including the upkeep of their own large armed units.
Last year, the provinces collected more than 0.5 billion dollars in taxes and customs duties and fees, but Kabul got only 80 million.
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