KABUL, Afghanistan — In the dark of night and amid a criminal investigation into accusations of rape against him, Afghanistan’s embattled vice president, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, left for Turkey on Friday in what Afghan and Western officials suggested could be another long exile for the former warlord.
General Dostum has been fighting for political survival for months after a northern elder claimed he had been abducted from a sports match, tortured by the vice president and raped by his guards.
After those accusations were made public, the government of President Ashraf Ghani and his Western backers made a strong initial push for him to surrender for questioning. Instead, General Dostum holed up, and it has become increasingly clear that the government has begun to favor exile as a solution rather than openly moving against the vice president, who is still popular among his northern Uzbek constituency and has threatened violence in the past if he was not respected.
Twice, Mr. Ghani had spoken to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, and one time a Turkish plane came to Kabul to pick up General Dostum, who refused to go, Afghan officials said. On Friday, they said, General Dostum showed no such hesitation.
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