Afghanistan: Gen. Dostum seeks military assistance from Russia

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KABUL (Pajhwok): First Vice-President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, returning to Kabul from counterinsurgency operation in the north, has sought military assistance from Russia.

Some weeks back, Dostum visited Afghanistan’s embattled north to lead the operation against the Taliban in Faryab and Sar-i-Pul provinces. He hinted at a similar military action in other provinces.

On his return to Kabul, the VP told reporters on Monday night said the Islamic State, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, wanted to conduct terror attacks in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia.

Moscow must be mindful of the Daesh threat, he stressed, asking regional states to evolve plans to counter the group’s nefarious designs.  He urged Russia to give Afghanistan weapons, warplanes and helicopters.

He argued military assistance from Moscow was beneficial for Kabul because many Afghan troops still used Russian weapons and were skilled in using them.

Gen. Dostum billed the military sweep in the north as productive, saying securing the areas purged of militants was the responsibility of interior and defence ministries.

Faryab and Sar-i-Pul had been cleared of rebels, including Daesh, Uzbek and Chechen fighters, he claimed.

But last night, the insurgents regained control of 22 villages and two bazaars, which government forces had captured during the operation in the Qaisar district of Faryab.

Dostum said militant leader Sheikh Maulana and Qari Zabihullah, commander of Uzbek and Chechen fighters, had been killed during the operation.

“Sheikh Maulana was the biggest ISI agent killed. A day after his death, Gen. Hamid Gul passed away and the Pakistan defence minister was also stunned,” he remarked.

Dostum added: “The president and the National Security Council (NSC) decided I should visit the north. I understood the fall of Faryab would mean the loss of the entire north…”

The VP rejected allegations that he had been to the north for the genocide of a certain ethnic community, insisting no security official had entered the houses or tents of Pashtuns.

“If allowed by the president and NSC, I’m ready to go to Nangarhar, Kunduz or anywhere to dismantle Daesh and Pakistani militant hideouts,” he remarked.

Gen. Dostum asked the United Nations and the international community to break their silence on what Pakistan was doing in Afghanistan.

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