First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, who has been living in exile in Turkey for more than a year, is expected to return home on Sunday, the Presidential Palace (ARG) announced onSaturday.
President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri on Saturday said at a press conference that all preparations are in place for Dostum’s return and that he will be warmly welcomed homeby government officials.
Dostum supporters have repeatedly said the first vice president was prevented from returning home but on Saturday, Chakhansuri said Dostum had been in Turkey to undergo medical treatment. He said the first vice president has recovered and as such will return home.
“He (Dostum) has recovered now and tomorrow he will be welcomed at a ceremony on his arrival in Kabul,” Chakhansuri said.
Meanwhile, members of Dostum’s party, the Islamic National Movement of Afghanistan, said high-ranking government officials such as Mohammad Sarwar Danish, the Second Vice President, willbe at the airport on Sunday to meet Dostum.
The deputy head of the Islamic National Movement of Afghanistan, Abdullah Qaraloq, said Dostum will immediately return to his office after his arrival.
Dostum left the country 14 months ago after allegations were lodged against him of sexual assault against the former Jawzjan governor Ahmad Eschi.
As a result, tension reportedly increased between him and Ghani.
At the time of his departure, Dostum said he was going to Turkey due to ill health. However his supporters have repeatedly stated that government refused to allow him to return.
On Saturday, Chakhansuri said the sexual assault allegations against Dostum by Eshchi will be investigated by the legal and judicial centers.
“The legal and judicial centers are independent, and based on the laws they will address all legal issues,” said Chakhansuri.
Meanwhile the office of the Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah said the CEO noted in a recent speech in Brussels that Dostum needs to return.
“The CEO in his speech in Brussels emphasized that General Dostum is an important figure in the country and that it is better for him to return to Afghanistan and stay in Afghanistan. The CEO also emphasized that when government is ready to make peace with the Taliban, then there is no obstacle to prevent General Dostum from returning to Afghanistan and to not to be in Afghanistan,” CEO spokesman Mujib Rahman Rahimi said.
The British ambassador to Kabul Nicholas Kay meanwhile said Britain and Afghanistan’s international partners have always said that the issues, such as the Dostum-Eshchi case, should be resolved through legal processes.
“UK and its international partners have always been very clear that we expect obviously that a due process of law should be followed and where there are serious allegations of serious crimes they should be properly addressed through the judicial process,” said Kay.
The Presidential Palace meanwhile said that Nizamuddin Qaisari, police chief of Qaisar district in Faryab and a close aid to Dostum, who was arrested almost three weeks ago by a Special Forces Unit, was still in custody and that the legal and judicial centers would decide his fate.
Qaisari’s arrest sparked fury among Dostum’s supporters who immediately launched wide-spread protests in the north and north-eastern parts of the country. In this time they have closed most government offices and election commission offices in at least five provinces.
They also threated civil unrest unless Dostum was allowed to return and Qaisari was released.