The Turkish foreign minister hosted former Afghan vice president and Marshal in the Afghan National Army Abdul Rashid Dostum in Ankara on August 12.
According to Turkish state media, the sides discussed Turkey’s leading role in international efforts to achieve peace in Afghanistan.
“Had a fruitful meeting w/former Vice President of #Afghanistan Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum. Will continue to stand by our Afghan brothers and sisters during the peace and reconciliation process,” Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.
Commenting on the talks, Cavusoglu said that his country is even ready to host a next round of peace talks which are expected to be held in Doha first.
Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, served as Vice President of Afghanistan from 2014 to 2020, and was promoted to marshal rank in 2020. He is a former general of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (existed from 1978 to 1992) and is the founder of the political party Junbish-e Milli (National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan).
During the Afghan War in the 1980s, Dostum was part of the Afghan National Army and the regional commander of the country’s north, commanding about 20,000 mostly Uzbek soldiers participating in battles against rebels. After the collapse of the USSR, he switched the side in 1992 and subsequently became the de facto leader of Afghanistan’s Uzbek community. In the coming years, Dostum and his forces always were a major factor in the political and military situation in Afghanistan. Dostum also spent notable time in Turkey and has close working relations with both Turkey and Russia.
At the same time, the photo of Dostum’s meeting with the Turkish foreign ministry allows to get a better understanding of the position of such an influential Afghan figure. Dosum’s awards and their order are especially interesting. Often, officers and soldiers put on the top awards that they value as the most important and exceptional. In the event of Dostum they are seem to be the Order of the Red Star (the USSR), the Order of Star (the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan), the Order of Friendship of Peoples (the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan) and the Order of Red Banner (the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan).
The Order of the Red Star is a military decoration of the Soviet Union for the contribution to the defense of the USSR in war and peaceful times.
The Order of Star of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan is awarded for an exceptional personal courage, courage and fearlessness in a combat situation, an excellent organization and conduct of combat operations, in which the enemy suffered major defeats and outstanding activities to improve the combat effectiveness of the armed forces and strengthen the defense capability of the country. This is the sister order of the Soviet “Gold Star” granted to people that received the title Hero of the USSR.
The Order of Friendship of Peoples of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan is an analogue of the Soviet Order of Friendship of Peoples. Both orders are awarded to persons, organizations, enterprises, military units, as well as administrative subdivisions for accomplishments in strengthening of inter-ethnic and international friendship and cooperation, for economical, political, scientific, military, and cultural development.
The Order of Red Banner of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan is awarded for deeds and leadership in military time, as well as for successes in the administrative and social development, and the strengthening of the national security of the country.
By wearing these awards, Marshal Dostum demonstrates his ideological positon and attitude towards the Soviet period of Afghanistan, which many of Afghan citizens consider to be the only really free period in the modern history of the country. Another interesting fact is that despite some tactical contradictions, Russia and Turkey have no real strategic conflict towards the situation in Afghanistan and the settlement of the Afghan crisis. In these conditions, Marshal Dustrum and his political and military structures could become a compromise figure that both Ankara and Moscow could support in the framework of the ongoing political settlement in Afghanistan.
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