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 An Ariana Media Publication 08/24/2016
 Dostum Must Choose Between National Front or Military Title: MOD


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Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum is being forced to choose between his work as a leader of opposition party National Front and his government position as the Military Supreme Commander's chief of staff.

The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has sent Dostum a letter stating that under Afghan law those with high-ranking military jobs are not permitted to actively participate in political parties.

Despite Dostum's "military" position in the government, which he has held since 2007, being largely ceremonial, the MOD letter reportedly tells Dostum he cannot continue in that role while he is working with the National Front.

It is not clear if the letter asks him to stand down from his government position or his work with the opposition party.

MOD spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi told TOLOnews on Wednesday that the Ministry is trying to fairly implement the law to anyone in a similar position to Dostum. It has sent similar letters to "other institutions" to make them aware of this fact, he said, but did not say which institutions.

"According to Article 153 of the constitution, no high ranking military authority has the right to participate in political parties or have political activities, and Gen. Dostum is now the chief of staff to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces," Azimi said.

The Military Supreme Commander is Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

On other matters, Azimi weighed in on the debate over Sunday night's attack on Pakistani soldiers, saying Pakistan's claim that the insurgents were from Afghanistan was baseless.

"Even as the Pakistani Taliban claimed the killing of the Pakistani soldiers, Pakistan accuses the Afghan Taliban. It's totally baseless and unfounded," Azimi said Wednesday.

Thirteen Pakistani soldiers based in the country's northern Dir region were killed in an attack by a reported 100 insurgents.

Azimi warned that the real threat remains within Pakistan and that until the terrorist financing and equipping centers outside of Afghanistan's borders are destroyed, the war in Afghanistan will continue.

"Afghanistan has never followed such [extreme] politics and has never had a reason to support the insurgents," he added.

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