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Abdul Rashid Dostum officially awarded rank of marshal – Jawzjan

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former vice president, has been officially awarded the rank of a marshal at a special ceremony held in Jawzjan province on Wednesday.

The promotion was a part of the political agreement inked between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the Head of High Council for National Reconciliation.

Dostum is the third person in the history of Afghanistan to receive the title of Marshall – the highest official rank within the military – after Shah Wali Khan and Mohammad Qasim Fahim.

Who is Abdul Rashid Dostum? How, why did he become the third marshal of Afghanistan?

Abdul Rashid Dostum, the founder of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, is one of Afghanistan’s most controversial military and political figures and one of Uzbek’s most important leaders.

Dostum, who was a senior military man and ally of Dr. Najibullah, changed direction in the last years of Dr. Najibullah’s rule in early 1992 and began working with the Mujahidin. Before the fall of the Mujahidin government led by Burhanuddin Rabbani by the Taliban, Dostum fought against Rabbani. He even allied with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Islamic Party of Afghanistan.

At the peak of his power in 1997, he had partially established an independent administration in northern Afghanistan, even running all the affairs of these regions and even printing a separate currency in his name. He had built a strong front against the Taliban in the north. It was during these years that his fans called him “King Dostum”.

After the fall of the Taliban, Dostum ran as a candidate in the 2004 presidential election, finishing fourth with about 9 percent of the vote.

Hamid Karzai, during the first term of his presidency, appointed Dostum as the commander of the army headquarters, but this position was suspended after the claim of Akbarbay, the head of the Afghanistan Turks Council, who said he had been abducted and beaten Dostum. Karzai’s command was suspended, and Dostum went to Turkey.

In the 2014 elections, Mr. Dostum became the first deputy of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. During this time, Dostum led the northern wars against the Taliban. But after being accused of sexual misuse by Ahmad Ishchi, Mr. Dostum went home and then went into exile voluntarily in Turkey. During his four years as first vice president, he had dark relations with Ashraf Ghani and criticized him many times. He then returned to Kabul from Turkey in an anti-government political coalition. In the most recent presidential election, he supported Abdullah’s candidacy.

According to the political agreement between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, awarding the rank of Marshal to Abdul Rashid Dostum as the third Marshal of Afghanistan was part of the demands of Abdullah’s team. The political agreement states that Abdul Rashid Dostum will be promoted to the highest military rank as Marshall by presidential decree and will also be a member of the Supreme Council of Government and the National Security Council.

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Fears of Taliban takeover post troop withdrawal are overblown: Khalilzad

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2021)

The US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said Tuesday predictions that the Taliban will quickly overrun Afghan government forces and conquer Kabul once U.S. and coalition forces have withdrawn are unduly pessimistic.

Testifying before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Khalilzad said: “I personally believe that the statements that their (Afghan) forces will disintegrate and the Talibs will take over in short order are mistaken.”

His comments came as committee members expressed concern that President Joe Biden’s decision to fully withdraw all troops by September 11 will lead to chaos and intensified civil war.

AP reported that Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican and withdrawal critic, asserted that there is “zero chance” the Taliban will abide by the commitments their leaders made in a February 2020 agreement with the Trump administration, which included engaging in sustained peace negotiations and severing all forms of cooperation with and support for al-Qaida.

“It seems all but certain the Taliban will try to overrun the country and return it to a pre-9/11 state after we have withdrawn,” McCaul said. 

“They’ve already ramped up their attacks, taking new territory and bases since the (Biden) announcement was made. Without a military presence in country, the U.S. is giving them room to deepen their relationship with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, who may seek to launch external attacks on us and our allies from the country once again.”

Khalilzad argued that the Taliban have reason not to push for a military victory and instead pursue a negotiated political settlement that could give them international legitimacy and removal from certain American and United Nations sanctions. 

“They say they seek normalcy in terms of relations — acceptability, removal from sanctions, not to remain a pariah,” Khalilzad said.

Khalilzad said the U.S. military withdrawal is proceeding “so far so good,” and added: “We expect that to continue.” 

He said diplomatic efforts are underway to seek agreements with neighboring countries to position U.S. counterterrorism forces within strike distance of Afghanistan to be able to respond to future threats.

 

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Five military facilities handed over to Defense Ministry: CENTCOM

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2021)

U.S. Central Command said Tuesday that about 115 C-17 military cargo loads of material have been flown out of Afghanistan and more than 5,000 pieces of equipment have been turned over to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction.

According to a statement issued by CENTCOM, the U.S. has officially handed over five facilities to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. 

“U.S. Central Command estimates that we have completed between 13-20% of the entire retrograde process,” the statement read.

The foreign troops withdrawal process started officially on May 1 and according to U.S. President Joe Biden it will be complete by September 11 – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States. 

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NSA says all leverage possible needed to get Taliban to talks tables

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(Last Updated On: May 18, 2021)

Afghan National Security Advisor (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib said Tuesday that all forms of leverage must be used to get the Taliban to actively engage in peace talks.

Mohib’s comments come amid an uptick in attacks by the Taliban in many province across the country following the three-day Eid ceasefire.

On Monday, Mohib discussed the Afghan peace process with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a phone conversation.

According to Mohib’s office, Wang assured Mohib of China’s full support for peace, stating: “China wants an independent, sovereign and unified Afghanistan.”

Wang noted that a political settlement is the only viable solution for ending the long-term war in Afghanistan.

Mohib’s office stated that the two sides identified terrorism as a common threat that both sides should fight.

“Wang Yi offered that China can increase its efforts, including regionally, in support of peace in Afghanistan,” the organization said.

Meanwhile, Mohib told Wang that “Afghanistan believes all levers of influence should be used to induce Taliban to engage earnestly in peace, including UN sanctions and other avenues where China’s unique capabilities can be helpful.”

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