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Afghan Vice President Dostum Returns Home After Year In Self-Imposed Exile

Afghanistan's Vice President Abdul Rahid Dostum

Afghanistan's Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has returned to Kabul after more than a year in self-imposed exile in Turkey amid claims that he had ordered his men to abduct, beat, and rape a political rival in 2017.

Dostum, a powerful former warlord, returned to the Afghan capital on July 22, with hundreds of supporters greeting him at Kabul airport.

Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, had been undergoing medical treatment in Turkey, was now well and would resume work, presidential spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri said.

Dostum left the country in 2017, after the attorney-general's office opened an investigation into allegations that his followers had tortured and sexually abused a former ally turned political rival.

Dostum had denied allegations and said his departure was for medical check-ups and family reasons.

It was not clear whether Dostum will face charges.

A deputy government spokesman told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan on July 21 that “legal matters will be pursued according to the law.”

Dostum is a controversial figure who has been accused of serious human rights violations,including the deaths of hundreds of Taliban prisoners in 2001 in the custody of his militia forces.

Based on reporting by Radio Free Afghanistan, AP, AFP, and ToloNews