The Afghan government announced late Tuesday that it had launched an investigation into allegations a former provincial governor was abducted, tortured and raped by security officials acting under the authority of First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum.
The announcement by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office came after U.N., U.S. and European Union officials in Kabul condemned the alleged abuses and called for a swift investigation.
Hours earlier, the victim, Ahmad Ishchi, a political ally-turned-rival of Dostum and former governor of the northern province of Jawzjan, revealed details of the alleged atrocities in an interview with the local Tolo TV News.
Ishchi, 63, asserted he was illegally detained two weeks ago and sexually assaulted for five days at Dostum's compound in Jawzjan. He said he was then handed over to the local intelligence agency, where he spent 11 more days in detention before provincial elders negotiated his freedom.
Dostum's spokespeople rejected the charges as baseless and a conspiracy to defame him. They insisted Ishchi was arrested, not abducted, by security forces to probe his links to anti-government forces.
The U.N. office in Kabul said it was concerned about the allegations against Dostum and stressed the importance of due process and accountability.
"The unlawful detention and reported mistreatment of Mr. Ishchi by the first vice president raises serious concerns," said a U.S. Embassy statement.
"We would welcome the Afghan government's move to swiftly investigate these allegations," it added.
EU missions in Kabul expressed similar concerns.
Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek and former Afghan warlord, has been previously accused of atrocities against Taliban prisoners and other human rights violations.