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Abdul Rashid Dostum

Taking tea with Gen Dostum ‎

Abdul Rashid Dostum 30%

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It is Friday — holy day — in Kabul. Near the checkpoint barrier a woman begs, her burka hiding her shame, but the only thing she receives is a spattering of dirt cast up by the passing trucks. The barrier lifts. Soldiers in dark green uniforms, rifles slung over their shoulders, wave me through. As I climb out of the car a thousand eyes burn into me, but I am careful not to return anyone’s gaze.


Such brazen conduct from a foreign woman would be sure to get me into trouble. Inside the house, in a marble room with a shiny new lift that wouldn’t look out of place in a Manhattan hotel, a man in a long gown greets me like a long-lost daughter. At six feet tall, he towers a good seven inches above me. I feel my legs wobble – his reputation is nearly as fearsome as his bushy moustache. He is General Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s most powerful warlord, head of the Uzbek tribe, unofficial ruler of the north, and, as the government’s chief of staff, commander of an army of over 25,000 men.As we sit down to tea in his home, the General is unequivocal about the problems facing Afghanistan in the light of the withdrawal of foreign troops; David Cameron has said he wants to withdraw all combat troops by 2014. What does the General think of the timing? “Most Afghans believe it is too soon,” he says fearing the country might disintegrate into chaos. I put it to him the comments I have heard from his own soldiers making up part of the Afghan army who complain that their equipment is inadequate. A common complaint is that the foreign armies are kitted out well (although some back home may beg to differ) whereas the Afghan army has th. ir cast-offs. Their boots are falling apart, their helmets have holes.

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Magsie Hamilton Little

July 30, 2012

Read full article: pakobserver.net

2012-08-16 


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