Addressing supporters in person for the first time in over a year, First Vice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum said on Sunday afternoon that he had been in Turkey for medical treatment.
Dostum did not say anything about having been in exile, as widely reported, but emphasized that he had been under the care of doctors in Turkey.
Dostum landed in Kabul at 4.30pm on Sunday and received an extremely warm welcome from his supporters and high-ranking officials.
His arrival was however marred by an explosion outside the airport gate.
Addressing his supporters at Sedarat Palace, he said he heard the explosion but that he was praying for the speedy recovery of all those wounded.
Dostum also said he was taking the issue of Faryab very seriously and that the treatment meted out to Nizamuddin Qaisari and his guards was “inhuman”.
Three weeks ago Qaisari, the district police chief for Qaisar and a close aide to Dostum, was arrested by Special Forces in Faryab on the grounds of having insulted security officials.
The day after his arrest, protestors took to the streets across the region calling for Qaisari’s release and Dostum’s return.
Dostum said he would meet with the president on Monday to resolve the issue around Qaisari. He also called on his supporters in Faryab to reopen the Aqina Port road – which they closed about two weeks ago – cutting off supplies coming in from Turkmenistan.
Earlier in his speech Dostum said he "extends his warmest salute to the people of Afghanistan from north to east, from Paktia to Kandahar and to the Pashtun people of this country.”
He also thanked security forces and the Kabul Garrison for having ensured his safety after his arrival at Hamid Karzai International Airport earlier in the day.
Dostum said peace with the Taliban was an important issue and that his office wants to the process to go ahead