Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former vice president and founder of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan party, in a ceremony on Wednesday was officially promoted to the rank of marshal at a ceremony in Jawzjan province.
Hundreds of people came to the event, including Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
On July 3, a decree by President Ashraf Ghani promoting Dostum to marshal rank was leaked to the media. The decree was signed on June 10.
Meanwhile, Dostum in his speech during the ceremony called on the Afghan political leaders to unite, to help the country pass through a sensitive situation and to defeat the Taliban.
“Give me six months to eliminate the Taliban”
In his remarks, Dostum talked about the Taliban’s ongoing insurgency and said that if the Afghan government gives him six months, he will eliminate the Taliban. However, he called on the Taliban to avoid making excuses and enter the peace process.
“The Taliban will be defeated, I want to say it to General Miller, to NATO---there is no need for your bombardment and ground forces, just trust and give us a chance to prove whether we deserve the rank of a marshal or not,” said Dostum, warning the Taliban.
Dostum called on the Afghan political leaders to unite against the Taliban.
“We are in a sensitive stage of history, if we are not united, if we do not trust each other, if we are not together, if we do not bear trust for each other, if one of us go towards the Stability and Convergence team (Abdullah’s election campaign) and they (Ghani’s team) go towards State Building Team…in that scenario, who wins the battlefield? Of course the Taliban, who are waiting there to bring their emirate,” said Dostum.
In the meantime, Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation also criticized the Taliban for increasing attacks in various parts of the country.
“Now that the ground has been paved for the talks, I am confident that the issue of the prisoner release will be completed, so there should be no more excuses for the start of intra-Afghan talks,” said Abdullah.
“If they (the Taliban) want to prolong the war or try to re-establish an emirate in Afghanistan, the era of the establishment of an emirate in Afghanistan has passed,” added Dostum.
Dostum's promotion is part of the political agreement signed between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on May 17.
Dostum thanked Abdullah for recommending the rank of marshal for him in the political agreement with President Ashraf Ghani. He also thanked Ghani for considering the recommendation.
Dostum said that he is the marshal for all the people of Afghanistan.
He added that his military calculations are "different from others when it comes to crushing the insurgents."
Dostum also said the US should not hurry in withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan but should wait to see what the Taliban will do with the process. He says he supports the peace process and that it should be moved forward by the government.
Marshal Dostum served as Vice President of Afghanistan from 2014 to 2020.
He has married three times and has four sons and six daughters.
He is also the chairman of National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan party.
In the 2014 presidential elections, Dostum supported President Ashraf Ghani.
In 2016, former Jawzjan governor and ex-member of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, Ahmad Eshchi, claimed that he was also sexually assaulted by Dostum and his bodyguards – while in Dostum’s ‘custody.'
After the allegations by Eshchi, Dostum was sidelined from his post as first vice president.
Eshchi claimed he was in Dostum’s custody for five days and then spent 11 days in a National Directorate of Security (NDS) detention center.
He claimed that Dostum beat him up, threatened to kill him and sexually assaulted him.