Abdul Rashid Dostum

Abdul Rashid Dostum is an Afghan politician and general in the Afghan National Army who has served as Vice President of Afghanistan from 2014 to 2020. An ethnic Uzbek, he is a former communist general and warlord known for siding with winners during different wars in Afghanistan, he is the founder of the political party Junbish-e Milli. During the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s, Dostum was part of the Afghan National Army and the regional commander of the country's north, commanding about 20,000 Uzbek soldiers participating in battles against mujahideen rebels. In 1992, he deserted the Mohammad Najibullah government shortly before its collapse, joining the mujahideen, forming his Junbish-e Milli party and militia and becoming an independent warlord, he subsequently became the de facto leader of Afghanistan's Uzbek community, controlling the country's northern provinces and Mazar-i-Sharif creating his own proto-state with an army of up to 40,000 men with tanks supplied by Uzbekistan and Russia and jets.

He supported the new government of Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul but in 1994 switched sides and allied with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In 1995, he backed Rabbani. In 1997, he was forced to flee after his former aide Abdul Malik Pahlawan took Mazar-i-Sharif, before he fought back and regained control. In 1998, the city was overrun by the Taliban and he fled again. Dostum returned to Afghanistan in 2001 and joined the Northern Alliance after the US invasion, leading his faction in the Fall of Mazar-i-Sharif. After the fall of the Taliban, he joined Hamid Karzai's presidential administration but spent most of his time in Turkey, he served as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Afghan Army, a role viewed as ceremonial. From 2011, he was part of the leadership council of the National Front of Afghanistan along with Ahmad Zia Massoud and Mohammad Mohaqiq. In 2014, he joined Ashraf Ghani's presidential administration as a vice president, but was forced to flee again in 2017 after being accused of sexually assaulting a political rival.

In 2018, he narrowly escaped a suicide bombing by ISIL-KP as he returned to Afghanistan at Kabul airport. In 2019, he escaped an hours-long attack by the Taliban on a convoy. Dostum was born in 1954 in Khwaja Du Koh near Sheberghan in Afghanistan. Coming from an impoverished Uzbek family, he received a basic traditional education as he was forced to drop out of school at a young age. From there, he took up work in the village's major gas fields. Dostum began working in 1970 in a state-owned gas refinery in Sheberghan, participating in union politics, as the new government started to arm the staff of the workers in the oil and gas refineries; the reason for this was to create "groups for the defense of the revolution". Because of the new communist ideas entering Afghanistan in the 1970s, he enlisted in the Afghan National Army in 1978. Dostum received his basic military training in Jalalabad, his squadron was deployed in the rural areas around Sheberghan, under the auspices of the Ministry of National Security.

By the mid-1980s, he commanded around 20,000 militia men and controlled the northern provinces of Afghanistan. While the unit recruited throughout Jowzjan and had a broad base, many of its early troops and commanders came from Dostum's home village, he returned after the Soviet occupation began. During the Soviet–Afghan War, Dostum was commanding a militia battalion to fight and rout mujahideen forces; this became a regiment and became incorporated into the defense forces as the 53rd Infantry Division. Dostum and his new division reported directly to President Mohammad Najibullah. On he became the commander of the military unit 374 in Jowzjan, he defended the Soviet-backed Afghan government against the mujahideen forces throughout the 1980s. While he was only a regional commander, he had raised his forces by himself; the Jowzjani militia Dostum controlled was one of the few in the country, able to be deployed outside its own region. They were deployed in Kandahar in 1988. Due to his efforts in the army, Dostum was awarded the title "Hero of the Republic of Afghanistan" by President Najibullah.

Dostum's men would become an important force in the fall of Kabul in 1992. In April 1992, the opposition forces began their march to Kabul against the government of Najibullah. Dostum had allied himself with the opposition commanders Ahmad Shah Massoud and Sayed Jafar Naderi, the head of the Isma'ili community, together they captured the capital city, he and Massoud fought in a coalition against Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Massoud and Dostum's forces joined together to defend Kabul against Hekmatyar; some 4000-5000 of his troops, units of his Sheberghan-based 53rd Division and Balkh-based Guards Division, garrisoning Bala Hissar fort, Maranjan Hill, Khwaja Rawash Airport, where they stopped Najibullah from entering to flee. Dostum left Kabul for his northern stronghold Mazar-i-Sharif, where he ruled, in effect, an independent region referred as the Northern Autonomous Zone, he printed his own Afghan currency, ran a small airline named Balkh Air, formed relations with countries like Uzbekistan. While the rest of the country was in chaos, his region remained prosperous and functional, it won him the support from people of all ethnic groups.

Many people fled to his territory to escape the violence and fundamentalism imposed

Val-Dieu Abbey

Val-Dieu Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery in the Berwinne valley near Aubel in the Land of Herve. In 1216 a small number of monks from the Hocht part of Lanaken, near Maastricht, settled in the uninhabited valley which formed the border between the Duchy of Limburg and the county of Dalhem; the abbey's original church was destroyed in 1287 during the War of the Limburg Succession. The church was rebuilt, but was destroyed again in 1574 during the Eighty Years' War, in 1683 by the armies of Louis XIV. Under the jurisdiction of Abbot Jean Dubois, from 1711 until 1749, the abbey flourished, it was dissolved during the French Revolution. The remaining buildings were left empty until 1844, when they were resettled by the last living monk of Val-Dieu from the time before the Revolution, together with four monks from Bornem Abbey; the abbey was closed again in 2001. Since 1 January 2002 a small lay community has lived there, under the leadership of rector Jean-Pierre Schenkelaars, overseen by the regional ecclesiastical authorities, in association with the Cistercian Order.

In 1997 the Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu was established in the abbey farm, brews a range of abbey beers in the tradition of the former Val-Dieu monks. Their range includes a Belgian blonde, triple, as well as a grand cru. Val-Dieu brewery De Tijd, Vallei van kaas en siroop, 24 December 2005

Hanson County, South Dakota

Hanson County is a county in the U. S. state of South Dakota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 3,331, its county seat is Alexandria. The county was founded in 1871 and organized in 1873, it was named for clerk of the first legislature. Hanson County is part of SD Micropolitan Statistical Area; the terrain of Hanson County consists of low rolling hills. The James River flows southeastward through the lower western part of the county; the terrain slopes toward the river basin on both sides, gently slopes to the south. Hanson county has a total area of 435.3 square miles, of which 434.5 square miles is land and 0.9 square miles is water. It is the third-smallest county in South Dakota by area; as of the 2000 United States Census there were 3,139 people, 1,115 households, 848 families in the county. The population density was 7 people per square mile. There were 1,218 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 99.52% White, 0.10% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, 0.19% from two or more races.

0.10% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Hanson County was mentioned as an "Extreme Whitopia" in Rich Benjamin's book, Searching for Whitopia. There were 1,115 households out of which 34.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.40% were married couples living together, 3.70% had a female householder with no husband present, 23.90% were non-families. 21.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.60% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.33. The county population contained 29.50% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.20 males. The median income for a household in the county was $33,049, the median income for a family was $39,500. Males had a median income of $27,112 versus $20,216 for females.

The per capita income for the county was $14,778. About 12.50% of families and 16.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.30% of those under age 18 and 15.30% of those age 65 or over. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,331 people, 1,045 households, 793 families in the county; the population density was 7.7 inhabitants per square mile. There were 1,177 housing units at an average density of 2.7 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 98.6% white, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.2% from other races, 0.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 63.7% were German, 10.8% were Irish, 6.2% were English, 5.2% were Norwegian, 4.0% were American. Of the 1,045 households, 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.8% were married couples living together, 3.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 24.1% were non-families, 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals.

The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.14. The median age was 35.5 years. The median income for a household in the county was $46,556 and the median income for a family was $52,425. Males had a median income of $38,088 versus $23,750 for females; the per capita income for the county was $21,391. About 13.8% of families and 13.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.6% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those age 65 or over. Alexandria Emery Farmer Fulton Epiphany Rockport Colony Hanson County voters tend to vote Republican. Since 1936, they have selected the Republican Party candidate in 65% of national elections. National Register of Historic Places listings in Hanson County, South Dakota