At least three bodyguards for a powerful commander close to Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum were killed in a firefight with special forces, officials said Friday.
It is the second such incident within three days in northern Faryab province, indicating the deepening rift between the vice president's camp and the government.
The commander, Nizamuddin Qaisari, had already been arrested on Wednesday after a violent dispute following a meeting with the local Afghan army commanders.
His arrest caused riots that left two protestors dead and 10 others injured. The protesters had also breached the governor's compound and set ablaze its hall.
The government forces were trying to seize weapons from Qaisari's house in the provincial capital Thursday night, but faced resistance from his guards, provincial council members Nadir Saeedi and Baqi Hashimi said.
Three other guards were wounded in the incident.
The protesters took to the streets again in the morning, demanding the immediate release of Qaisari, officials said.
The fragile Afghan unity government already has a tense relationship with the Uzbek leader General Dostum.
Dostum currently lives in Turkey after he left Afghanistan in May 2017 before court proceedings started against him for the alleged kidnapping and torture of a political opponent.
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