Afghan Warlord’s Promotion Highlights the Bankruptcy of America’s Longest War | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Afghan Warlord’s Promotion Highlights the Bankruptcy of America’s Longest War

When Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, his main political opponent, signed a power-sharing deal in May, it ended eight months of bitter post-election dispute. It also came with a disturbing price tag, one hashed out among rounds of backroom deals, tense negotiations, and desperate U.S. attempts to keep the government from imploding. Abdul Rashid Dostum, Ghani’s vice president until last year and one of the country’s most notorious warlords, demanded a promotion to the rank of marshal, only awarded twice before in Afghan history. Ghani, who’d long vowed to clean out the warlords, complied.

Dostum, whose militias are believed to have carried out one of the most notorious war crimes in modern Afghan history during the early days of the U.S.-led invasion, embodies much of what’s gone wrong in contemporary Afghanistan—and especially the failed promise that the U.S. invasion would help create a cleaner, more transparent, more democratic state. Dostum still stands accused of torturing and ordering the rape of a political rival while in office as recently as 2016. After swift Western condemnation, Dostum fled to Turkey, where he enjoys a good relationship with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It wasn’t his first flight to Turkey: In 2008, too, he’d sheltered in Ankara amid similar accusations that his men had abducted, beaten, and sexually assaulted a political opponent.

But instead of being prosecuted, Dostum is being promoted: His ascent to marshal became effective this week. While many critics, both Afghans and non-Afghans, observed the ceremony with indignation, Afghan media shrugged, while the warlord’s supporters celebrated the promotion.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Color me completely unsurprised by these developments; the US presence in Afghanistan, was never about strengthening the government in Kabul; it was all about the pipelines and leasing them, and who controlled those activities.