Makeover For A Warlord

A much feared Afghan strongman is trying to repackage himself as a servant of the people

Abdul Rashid Dostum, the thuggish Afghan warlord, would not seem a likely student of Abraham Lincoln. But there he was, echoing the Gettysburg Address as he spoke recently to a large political gathering in northern Afganistan. His speech was a booming appeal for a future that offered Afghans "government by the people, for the people." To accompany his new rhetoric, Dostum also has a new look. The powerfully built Uzbek general has shaved his beard--his thick trademark moustache remains--bought some new neckties and found a good tailor.

The lofty language, the dapper attire, even expressions of regret for making "mistakes"--all are...

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