Afghan Vice-President escapes Taliban Attack
The Vice-President of Afghanistan Abdul Rashid Dostum has once again successfully escaped unhurt from a Taliban attack which claimed lives of one of his bodyguards. Attackers had ambushed the convoy of Dostum while it was going from Mazar-i-Sharif which is a city in the Balkh province to the Jawzjan province in the northern part of Afghanistan. It is learnt from the sources that Dostum was aware of the fact that the attack was planned but had still decided to travel. Two other bodyguards of Dostum were injured.
Dostum had a rally in the Balkh area in the day as he had taken part in the election team of Abdullah Abdullah, who is the Afghan Chief Executive and one of the primary contenders of the Presidential Elections which are due in September 28. The responsibility of the assassination attempt has been taken by the spokesman of Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid. Mujahid said that four guards were killed and six others were wounded in the attack.
This is the second attempt on Dostum, the last assault had taken place eight months ago to avoid an injury in the suicide bomb attack at the Kabul airport. The attack had left 23 people dead. The responsibility of the latter had been claimed by the Islamic State. It had taken place as Dostum had come back home after a year and more in exile in Turkey over allegations of resorting to torture and abuse of his political rival. It was after extreme pressure by West including United States, that Dostum had left for exile. In less than 1 year ever since he returned, he still remains a significant figure in the upcoming polls. Dostum is seen as a powerful Uzbek leader and he has been notorious in Afghanistan for conducting extreme torture and also repeatedly switching loyalties in his political career of 40 years. A whole catalogue of war crimes has been attached to his name with accusations as severe as rape and torture of a political rival. The leader had become the first Vice-President of Afghanistan in 2014. At a recent rally in the Balkh province, he said that he will completely clear the northern part of the country from terrorists in six months, if he was permitted by the government to do so.