Afghan Vice President flies to Turkey amid claims he raped and beat political rival

Abdul Rashid Dostum allegedly joined bodyguards as they 'tortured' former ally for five days

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The Independent Online

Afghanistan's Vice President may remain exiled in Turkey following claims he ordered thugs to beat and rape a political rival in a scandal that rocked the country. 

Abdul Rashid Dostum, 63, allegedly commanded ten bodyguards to abduct Ahmad Eshchi and then joined in as they tortured the politician with an assault rifle at his private compound in Kabul last November. 

The former warlord denies any involvement and has been guarded by his militiamen while prosecutors investigate and decide whether to bring charges. 

Afghan officials have subsequently confirmed the Vice President has flown to Turkey.

General Dostum later insisted the trip was for medical reasons, according to a statement issued by his office.

“I have remained with my people in difficult circumstances, and I am concerned about the security situation in the country,” it said, according to the New York Times.

“After completing the medical checkups, I will return to the country in a short while.”

General Dostum has been linked to a string of war crimes committed during Afghanistan's civil war.

He was previously accused of having a political rival beaten and raped, and travelled to Turkey for an extended period in 2008 following the claims. 

Afghanistan's President, Ashraf Ghani, invited the powerful Uzbek warlord to join the country's national unity government six years later.

Nobody has been arrested or charged following Mr Eshchi's allegations last year. 

The latest development is seen as a blow to Western-backed efforts to promote the rule of law in the country.

Afghan attorney general Mohammad Farid Hamidi said the case is “under serious investigation".

Additional reporting by agencies