The New York Times, February 3, 2008
Former Warlord in Standoff With Police at Kabul Home
On Saturday night, about 50 to 60 people loyal to General Dostum went to Mr. Bai’s house, beat him, his son and a bodyguard and shot another bodyguard
By Adbul Waheed Wafa
KABUL — Dozens of armed police officers laid siege on Sunday to the house of a powerful ethnic Uzbek leader, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, in the diplomatic district of the capital, Kabul’s police chief said. The action came after about 50 of General Dostum’s followers attacked and briefly abducted a political rival Saturday night.
General Dostum is one of Afghanistan’s most notorious former warlords. His militia was disarmed, and he now leads a political party, Junbish-i-Milli, and holds a symbolic post of chief of staff to the commander in chief. Yet he remains an intimidating presence on the political scene and by many reports has continued to use violence against critics and rivals.
Gen. Alishah Paktiawal told Pajhwok Afghan News: "Dostum (Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the Afghan National Army) and 70 of his men stormed Akbar Bai's house in the posh locality of Wazir Akbar Khan and took him hostage.
PAN, Feb. 3, 2008
The attack on Saturday was on Akbar Bai, an ethnic Turkmen and former member of General Dostum’s party who broke with him last year, accusing him of crimes that include the killings of other Turkmen.
Mr. Bai, his son and two bodyguards were admitted to the Kabul military hospital, a doctor on duty said on the condition of anonymity.
“Signs and symptoms shows that he was beaten up very badly — he was unconscious for a short period of time,” said the doctor, who was not authorized to speak to the news media.
Zemarai Bashary, the Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, said the case would be sent to the attorney general’s office for appropriate action. “There is no doubt it was an illegal act,” he said.
On Saturday night, about 50 to 60 people loyal to General Dostum went to Mr. Bai’s house, beat him, his son and a bodyguard and shot another bodyguard, said Gen. Salim Hassas, the police chief.
Mr. Bashary said that according to the victim’s family, General Dostum had been present during the attack on Mr. Bai and that after the men were beaten, they were taken to General Dostum’s house. By morning, the police had the house surrounded, with both sides aiming their weapons at each other.
The police said they freed the four men and took them to the hospital, but it was not clear when or how the victims arrived.
A legislator, Muhammad Alim Sayee, spoke on behalf of General Dostum and denied that the general had broken into Mr. Bai’s house. He accused the government of plotting against the Uzbek leader and warned of instability if anything should happen to General Dostum’s control of northern Afghanistan.
Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting from Kabul, and Carlotta Gall from Islamabad, Pakistan
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