Dreaded warlord joins Karzai government

Agence France Presse

Kabul, April 18:

Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostam officially joined President Hamid Karzai’s administration today after stepping down as chief of his feared northern militia faction, an official said.

“Dostam was introduced to the cabinet — he took up his post,” said Khaliq Ahmad, one of Karzai’s spokesmen, referring to Dostam’s new title as chief of staff of the high command of the country’s armed forces. The former general’s new position in the government is believed to be largely symbolic but it is crucial for Karzai as it removes the Uzbek warlord from his powerbase in Shiberghan. Dostam has resigned as leader of his Jinbish Mili Islami Party. The JMIP has been registered as a formal political party.