Afghan VP Dostum departs for Turkey amid rape probe


KABUL: Afghanistan’s embattled vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum has left for Turkey, officials said on Saturday, in what could be another long exile for the former warlord following allegations that he raped and tortured a political rival. Dostum departed late Friday in the middle of a criminal investigation that has drawn attention to the culture of impunity that is hobbling Western-backed efforts to instill the rule of law in Afghanistan. Speculation is rife that he has sought temporary exile in Turkey in a bid to escape prosecution. But a spokesman for Dostum, Bashir Ahmad Tahyanj, insisted that he would return after visiting Turkey for “medical checkups and to visit his family.” Dostum is accused of abducting rival Ahmad Ishchi last year during a game of Buzkashi—a type of polo played with an animal carcass—in northern Jowzjan province. Dostum, 63, allegedly kept Ishchi hostage in his private compound for five days, where he was said to be tortured and sodomized, an accusation that Dostum has denied.



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