'Exiled General Dostum can return to Afghanistan'

Dostum has regularly been accused by human rights groups of widespread abuse, in particular allowing the massacre of several thousand Taliban prisoners in 2001.

'Exiled General Dostum can return to Afghanistan'

Exiled Uzbek General Abdul Rashid Dostum can return to Afghanistan at any time, the government said on Sunday, after his supporters threatened to withdraw backing for President Hamid Karzai in the Aug. 20 election.

Dostum has been in Turkey since last year when the Afghan government released him from house arrest imposed for fighting with a rival.

It was never made clear if Dostum's exile was ordered or self-imposed, but on Sunday a government statement said there was no legal reason to prevent him from returning.

"General Abdul Rashid Dostum can travel abroad and can return home as an Afghan citizen and on the basis of the constitution," the government statement said.

"He has total freedom in this regard. There is no legal block for his frequenting and for choosing a place."

Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, received 12 percent of the popular vote in the 2004 election won by Karzai, but is not standing this time. His supporters had pledged to support Karzai, an ethnic Pashtun, in return for positions in the next government.

Karzai will win the election, opinion polls suggest, but by less than the 50 percent needed to avoid a run-off against the second-placed challenger.

Dostum has regularly been accused by human rights groups of widespread abuse, in particular allowing the massacre of several thousand Taliban prisoners in 2001.


Reuters

Last Mod: 17 Ağustos 2009, 11:49
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