KABUL — Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has called accusations against him that he kidnapped, beat and sexually assaulted a fellow tribal leader “marginal issues,” a statement by his media office reads.
The statement, published late Wednesday, follows an announcement from the Afghan attorney general’s office that a court case against Dostum and nine of his bodyguards over the accusations was handed over to the country’s Supreme Court.
“At this time, it would be better to pay attention to the great national interests,” Dostum said.
“Given the sensitive situation in the (war-torn) country it is imperative that instead of paying attention to such marginal issues, steps are taken to bring reforms to the government,” Dostum said, adding that the court case has nothing to do with him.
Ahmad Ishchi, a leader from the vice president’s own ethnic Uzbek tribe, accused Dostum and his bodyguards of beating him and then abducting and sexually assaulting him in November.
Ishchi, 63, was first beaten by Dostum and his bodyguards during a sporting event in Sheberghan, the capital of Afghanistan’s northern Jawzjan province and the vice president’s home town.
According to some sources, the assault began after Ishchi criticized Dostum.
Ishchi also accused Dostum of ordering his bodyguards to sexually assault him with the barrel of a rifle.
Dostum denies the allegations. The vice president, a former Afghan warlord accused of human rights violations, left Afghanistan for Turkey in May citing health issues, but some observers considered it an evasion of the investigations.