Afghan warlord Dostum awarded rank of marshal in Jawzjan ceremony
Abdul Rashid Dostum, the former Afghan vice president, has officially been awarded the rank of marshal at a ceremony held in Jawzjan province on Wednesday, reported TOLONews.
On July 3, a decree of President Ashraf Ghani promoting Dostum to the marshal rank was leaked to the media. The decree was signed on June 10.
The promotion is part of the political agreement signed between President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on May 17.
Marshal Dostum, in his inauguration ceremony as the third marshal of Afghanistan, expressed his gratitude to the organizing committee and paid homage to those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country.
Dostum thanked Abdullah, for recommending the rank of marshal for him in the political agreement with President Ashraf Ghani. He also thanked Ghani for considering the recommendation.
Dostum said that he is the marshal for all the people of Afghanistan. He called for unity among Afghan political leaders, said the Taliban are "eager to establish their emirate."
He added that his military calculations are "different from others when it comes to crushing the insurgents".
Dostum also said the US should not hurry in withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan but should wait to see what the Taliban will do with the process. He says he supports the peace process and that it should be moved forward by the government.
Pentagon Confirms Troops Withdrawn from Five Bases in Afghanistan
The US Pentagon chief spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Tuesday that US troops have withdrawn from five military bases and reduced the size of its forces in Afghanistan as part of the agreement reached with the Taliban in February, The Hill reported.
"US forces in Afghanistan remain in the mid-8,000s and five bases formerly occupied by US forces have been transferred to our Afghan partners,” said Hoffman. "We maintain the capabilities and authorities necessary to protect ourselves, our allies and partners, and US national interests," he said, adding that "We will continue to execute our counterterrorism mission while simultaneously supporting the 38-nation NATO Resolute Support Train, Advise, Assist mission and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) as they work to secure peace in the country."
On Tuesday, a US official in Kabul speaking on condition of anonymity, told TOLOnews that five bases were vacated by US troops in Afghanistan--in compliance with the US-Taliban peace agreement--in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces.
US troops in the country have been reduced to 8,600, according to US reports.