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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 23-Jul-2018
23-Jul-18 World View -- ISIS-K bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, targets returning vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum

Web Log - July, 2018

23-Jul-18 World View -- ISIS-K bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, targets returning vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum

ISIS-K claims credit for bomb targeting Uzbek warlord General Dostum

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

ISIS-K bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, targets returning vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum


Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghan vice president and Uzbek warlord, arrives in Kabul on Sunday, greeted by hundreds of supporters (Reuters)
Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghan vice president and Uzbek warlord, arrives in Kabul on Sunday, greeted by hundreds of supporters (Reuters)

Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, the vice president of Afghanistan, returned to Kabul in a chartered plane on Sunday, after a year in exile in Turkey. Hundreds of his supporters, including high ranking officials, had gathered to welcome him home.

He gave a short speech, and then shortly after his motorcade left the Kabul airport, a terrorist bomb struck at the airport, killing at least 14 people, and injuring dozens.

The reason that he was in exile was because he was accused in 2016 assaulting a political opponent, Ahmad Eshchi, a former governor. Eshchi claimed in 2016:

"I took Gen. Dostumís hand and greeted him [at the Buzkashi grounds]. From that point, he started abusing me verbally. He told me that he knows what I have done. He told me he knows what my son has done. Who will look for you if I kill you here. I will throw you under the horses and do Buzkashi on you. He called on his bodyguards and told them to grab me and beat me. He [Dostum] lay me on the ground and put his foot on my neck."

He claimed that Dostum ordered his bodyguards to beat him up, and then Dostum threatened to kill him and sexually assaulted him.

Dostum left Afghanistan early in 2017 under pressure from Afghanistan aid donors, including the United States. Dostum denied Eshchi's accusations but, amid international demands that he face justice to show that powerful political leaders were not above the law, he left the country in May last year, saying he needed to seek medical treatment in Turkey. Tolo News (Afghanistan) and Australian Broadcasting and Tolo News (2016)

ISIS-K claims credit for bomb targeting Uzbek warlord General Dostum

The Taliban have disavowed any involvement in the bombing, which was almost certainly a failed attempt to assassinate vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum. However, "ISIS Khorasan" (ISIS-K, "Wilayah Khorasan"), the Afghanistan branch of ISIS, took credit for the bombing on the ISIS public relations web site.

In addition to being Afghanistan's current vice president, Dostum is an Uzbek warlord with a very bloody history. During the 1980s invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, Dostum was first an ally of the Soviets, and then switched sides and fought the Soviets. During the very bloody Afghan civil war of the 1990s, Dostum led an Afghan army and switched sides in that war two times.

Every ethnic civil war, certainly including the Afghan civil war, is filled atrocities, including torture, slaughter, rape, sexual assault, and mutilation, as a matter of course. So the description of the "conversation" that Dostum had with Ahmad Eshchi described above is unverified, but is certainly not implausible.

Afghanistan's president, Ashraf Ghani, selected Dostum to be his vice presidential running mate in the 2014 presidential election, in order to appeal to ethnic Uzbek voters. Dostum is credited with delivering the ethnic Uzbek vote, and being a big factor in Ghani's victory. The next presidential election will take place in 2019, and it's thought that Ghani will try to rehabilitate Dostum in time for that election.

While in Turkey, Dostum formed an alliance with two other powerful leaders, Atta Mohammad Noor, a major force among ethnic Tajiks and Mohammad Mohaqiq, a leader of the Hazara minority, both of whom joined him in Kabul on Sunday. These three ethnic groups -- Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras -- played major roles in the Northern Alliance that defeated the Taliban with United States support in the Afghan war that followed 9/11/2001.

The Taliban consist almost entirely of radicalized ethnic Pashtuns, which is also the ethnicity of Ghani. So Ghani's choice of Dostum as vice president represents an attempt to appeal to ethnic groups across the entire spectrum.

That brings us back to ISIS-K, the Afghanistan branch of ISIS. ( "18-Jul-18 World View -- Fighting between Taliban and ISIS-K escalates in Afghanistan")

The Taliban and ISIS-K are both jihadist groups, but they have entirely different goals. The Taliban say that their goal is simply to get all foreign troops -- the US-led coalition -- to leave Afghanistan. However, that doesn't explain their frequent terror attacks on Hazaras and other hated ethnic groups that the Pashtuns fought in the 1990s civil war.

ISIS-K have different stated objectives. Theologically, they consider the Taliban to be apostates, because they make alliances with secular governments, such as the government of Afghanistan. ISIS-K, along with ISIS in Syria and Iraq, have stated that their goals are to create the world's greatest Caliphate, eliminating all secular governments.

So that explains the most likely reason why ISIS-K, which contains Uzbeks as well as other ethnic groups, is taking credit for targeting the Uzbek vice president, General Abdul Rashid Dostum. AP and BBC and Toronto Star (1-Feb) and Afghan Bios

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Jul-18 World View -- ISIS-K bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, targets returning vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Jul-2018) Permanent Link
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