Most unwanted

AFGHANISTAN'S powerful northern warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum says he wants to work with Hamid Karzai's government, preferably as defence minister or army chief of staff.

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Published: Tue 20 Jan 2004, 12:36 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 Feb 2023, 11:44 AM

He says further that the post is not important. All very good, except that it is difficult to take General Dostum at his word given his reputation as the leader of a particularly ferocious ethnic Uzbek militia.

President Karzai should not give another chance to the warlord, who was appointed deputy defence minister as part of an effort to disarm and demobilise his Junbish militia and integrate it into the new Afghan army. But

Dostum left that position in mid-2002 and since then his fighters have clashed regularly with the forces of the Tajik warlord, Atta Mohammed. Instead of known bad elements like Dostum, new faces should be inducted into the central government if Afghanistan is to put the era of civil wars and oppression behind it.

Indeed, not just Dostum but also the warlords should be stripped of their power and privileges, guilty as they are of heinous crimes against fellow Afghans in the past and of creating impediments to progress at present. Karzai should not be afraid of taking on the warlords because the Americans are around to help him settle the matter.

After all, these men are no better than the ousted leader of the Taleban, Mullah Omar, and they are fighting for nothing but self-preservation. If the Taleban represented primarily the Pashtuns, the other warlords represent individual communities like Tajiks and Uzbeks. None of them advance the interests of Afghans collectively.

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