General Abdul Rashid Dostum, the Vice President of Afghanistan, was unharmed in a Taliban-led attack this weekend, reports The Associated Press.
Multiple ambushes occurred on the evening of March 30, as General Dostum's convoy was moving from northern Balkh to his home in the Zawzjan province. Dostum escaped unwounded, but not everyone was so lucky. The official report claims that one of Dostum's security guards was killed, and two wounded, but this is disputed by a source for The New York Times, who states that three guards died and a vehicle was destroyed. Another report claims that 10 of the Taliban insurgents were killed or injured, and two captured.
This exact ambush was predicted by General Dostum a day prior, when he spoke to a crowd of supporters in Mazar-i-Sharif. Dostum, a vocal Taliban opponent, has often bragged about his horseback attacks on the extremist group in 2001, in which he was supported by the CIA. His more recent, private efforts have been unsuccessful, but he nonetheless argues that a Taliban defeat would be imminent if he received government support.This attack is the second public attempt on Dostum's life in the past year. In 2018, The Inquisitr wrote that the vice president had narrowly survived a suicide bombing near Kabul's airport, which took the lives of 14 victims, and wounded 50.
Dostum is a deeply controversial figure. An outspoken opponent of the Taliban, Daesh, and other extremist groups, his social views are demonstrably left of the deeply-conservative Taliban. However, his aggressive tactics, and his record of human rights abuses, have been deeply criticized by the international community, with Reuters reporting that he was once described by the U.S. State Department as a "quintessential warlord."
Between 2017 and 2018, Dostum exiled himself to Turkey to escape allegations of torture and sexual assault by Ahmad Ishchi, a political rival who says he was tortured and sexually assaulted by nine of Dostum's men, using an assault rifle, according to The Guardian. Dostrum vaguely claims he was only in Turkey for medical reasons, but Human Rights Watch points out that seven of the men involved in the assault have since been convicted in absentia.
Meanwhile, according to The New York Times, Dostum continues to be dogged by reports -- which he denies -- that his forces may have murdered thousands of unarmed Taliban prisoners of war in 2001, many of whom are said to have suffocated to death within hot metal cargo containers.
As of 2019, Dostum has yet to face prosecution.