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Abdul Rashid Dostum

General Abdul Rashid Dostum is the Deputy Defense Minister of Afghanistan and a Uzbek warlord. Along with General Mohammed Fahim[?] and Ismail Khan, Dostum was one of three factional leaders that comprised the Northern Alliance. Forces loyal to Dostum continue to clash with forces loyal to Tajik General Atta Mohammed[?].

In March of 2003, he established a North Zone of Afghanistan, against the wishes of interim president Hamid Karzai. Whether the Zone gains any influence or importance remains to be seen.

On May 20, 2003, Dostum signed an agreement to no longer serve as Karzai's special envoy for the northern regions.

He began as a union boss in the 1970s until he formed an Uzbek militia. He supported the Gorbachev-era Communist reforms in Afghanistan. He defended the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the United States-backed mujahedin in the 1980s.

Dostum then fought with the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, capturing, in tandum with the forces of Ahmed Shah Massoud, Kabul on April 18, 1992

He encourages women to live and work freely, as well as music, sports, alcohol, and allows for people of other religions. These things are all discouraged by the Taliban and discouraged, to some extent by the other more moderate mujahedin. Others accuse his troops of attacking Kabul and contributing to the civil war that ensued in the wake of the fall of the Communist regime in 1992. It is also claimed that during the civil war he financed his army by opium trading.

In 2001, he returned from exile on the heels of a U.S.-led bombing campaign that drove the Taliban from power. Since then, he has run parts of the country's north as his own fiefdom, nominally serving as a deputy defense minister in the national government in Kabul but operating almost totally independent of the government.

In November of 2002, the United Nations began an investigation of alleged human rights abuses by Dostum. Witnesses claimed that Dostum jailed and tortured witnesses to prevent them from testifying in a war crimes case. Dostum is also under suspicion for the events of the Dasht-i-Leili massacre.

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