Criminal Gen. Dostum seeks Russia's help against Taliban

NNI, Wednesday 3rd November, 1999

ISLAMABAD (NNI): The former Afghan warlord and chief of Jubash-e-Milli Islami Afghanistan, General Abdul Rashid Dostum has sought Russias help against the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan.

"If Russians want return of peace and security to Russia, Dagestan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chechnya, they should assist the Afghan opposition", General Dostum said in an interview with the BBC.

He said that the objective of his visit to Moscow is to seek Russian support for the Afghan opposition against the Taliban who have turned the country into narcotics and terrorism base.

General Dostum who once headed a well trained and well equipped Gilamjam militia having control over a vast area in northern Afghanistan met senior Russian officials in Moscow asking them to extend help to the United Front of Afghanistan if they want to eliminate terrorism in Afghanistan.

Political observers are giving much importance to his recent visit to Russia in the wake of close relations with Kremlin. He has been out of the political and military scenario of Afghanistan for almost a year following the capture of most of the northern provinces by the Taliban.

Dostum also met senior Afghan officials and intellectuals besides Russian Deputy Prime Minister and senior Russian advisor and demanded help from them against the student militia.

He termed his visit to Russia successful and the response of the Russians as good. He said that Russians are now convinced that if Talibans advance in northern Afghanistan is blocked, it would help restore peace in Central Asia.

He accused the Taliban of turning Afghanistan into narcotics and terrorism base. He said that besides seeking help from Russia, they should sit with Professor Rabbani and Ahmed Shah Masood and jointly fight against the Taliban to check drugs and terrorism. Dostum disclosed that a number of his strong and prominent commanders and supporters are fighting against the Taliban under the command of Ahmed Shah Masood in Faryab, Jauzjan and Samangon. He said that he is in touch with them on telephone.

He described Taliban as dangerous not only for Afghanistan but for regional countries as well. He said that such a dangerous movement could be checked only with the assistance of Russia. He added that the anti-Taliban alliance wants to meet the leaders of Iran, Russia and other anti-Taliban countries to find a solution to the Afghan problem.

General Dostum predicted a big change in the war-ravaged Afghanistan within next two weeks. He claimed that the Chechen leader Shamil Basayev has established his base in Afghanistan.

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