The first mention of a confrontation between Qaidu and the Ilkhans dates from 1288, when envoys from Khurasan informed the Ilkhan Arghun (1284-91) that they had been attacked by three thousand horsemen from Qaidu's army. These horsemen, commanded by the Chaghadaid Yasa'ur Noyan, came from Panjab, invaded Balkh, Marv, and Shabiirghan, and arrived in the environs of Nishapiir. 179 Arghun did not rebuff this invasion, possibly because immediately afterwards he faced a more serious invasion by the Golden Horde. 180

Qaidu's and Du'a's armies were involved in Khurasan far more extensively in the 1290s, motivated by Nauruz's rebellion: this commander, who is remembered in history principally as the mah who intrigued the conversion of the Ilkhan Ghazan to Islam, was the son of Arghun Aqa, head of the regional administration of Khurasan from Ogodei's reign until his own death in 1275. Nauruz inherited his father's position, but in 1289 rebelled against Arghun, who at the same time faced a revolt by his Vizier, Boqa. 181 Nauruz tried to

establish himself as an independent ruler in Khurasan, using Prince *Kingshu as a puppet ruler.182 While contemplating resistance to the Ilkhan army sent against him by Ghazan (then Nauruz's commander as ruler of Khurasan), 183 or after actually losing to the Ilkhanid army at Herat/84 Nauruz sought Qaidu's friendship and even performed various services for him. In return he pleaded for an army. Qaidu lent the army in Transoxania, commanded by Yasa'ur, to Nauruz and sent him his son Sarban, with other princes of the house of Ogodei.185 Sarban, who lived in Badakhshan and Panjab, on the banks of the Oxus, maintained responsibility for the border with the Ilkhans in the following years too. 186 One may assume that Qaidu acceded to Nauruz's request because of the latter's proven capabilities (by virtue of which Ghazan subsequently pardoned him) and his familiarity with Khurasan. Another factor that certainly contributed to Qaidu's willingness to provide an army was the fact that Nauruz then commanded at least part of the Qara'unas. This was a group of Mongols based in Ghazna, who ruled over a large part of Afghanistan and endeavored to remain independent of both the Ilkhans and the Chaghadaids.187