Sources told TOLOnews that there are some disagreements between President Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on promoting former vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum to marshal rank, which was included as a term in the political agreement signed between both sides in April.
Based on the agreement, Dostum--who was a supporter of Abdullah’s campaign in last year’s presidential election--will not only be given the marshal rank but will also be given membership in the High Council of Government and the National Security Council.
The sources said the president intends to give the marshal rank to Dostum only as an honorary promotion--to be announced in a decree by Ghani. A merely honorary promotion was opposed by Abdullah and Dostum from the beginning when the agreement was signed, according to the sources.
But Dostum’s spokesman, Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj, said Dostum will visit Kabul in the near future and that he will begin his work as the marshal of the country and as a member of the National Security Council.
“Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, as one of the leaders of this country and as a member of the National Security Council, will return to Kabul in a special ceremony in the near future,” Tahyanj said.
The Presidential Palace spokesman Sediq Sediqqi did not comment on the reported rift over the promotion of Dostum but said there is a commitment for the implementation of the political agreement.
“The signing of the political agreement was a milestone for overcoming political challenges in the country,” Sediqqi said. “The Afghan government is fully committed to implementing the contents of the political agreement.”
Critics say the country lacks a written law on the promotion of individuals to marshal rank, the highest rank in military.
“A written law has not been passed on who can be promoted to marshal rank and what are the protocols for a marshal,” said Zahir Azimi, a retired army general.
“Promotion to the marshal rank through a political deal is not common in the world,” said Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, a military analyst.