Former Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum has officially joined President Hamid Karzai's administration.

Mr. Dostum, one of Afghanistan's most powerful regional strongmen, is now chief of staff to the high command of Afghanistan's central armed forces.   The former presidential candidate, who survived an assassination attempt in January, has resigned his position as head of his northern based Uzbek militia.

When Mr. Dostum's appointment was announced last month, it drew considerable criticism.  Human rights groups accuse the general of gross rights violations following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and the toppling the Taleban regime.  Mr. Dostum's militia has also been accused of drug trafficking.

President Karzai has brought several regional commanders into the government, an apparent bid at a consensual approach to nation building.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.