Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Dostum Campaign

Northern Uzbek warlord Abd ar-Rashid Dostum has decided to run for President of Afghanistan, playing his traditional ethnic politics card to garner support from non-Pashtun groups. Dostum's accusations against Karzai are a bit deceptive: Karzai is more reluctant to pursue disarmament in the south because that is where the Taliban remains active. Also, it is the non-Pashtun warlords who hold much of the power because they were the cornerstone of the old Northern Alliance which has since evolved into the Afghan government. In any case, this move is all about Dostum's quest for power rather than any higher agenda - he's playing the same game as Ismail Khan in Herat with just a different strategy.


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