General Dostum is the whisky-drinking former plumber who rose through the ranks of the Afghan puppet army that the Soviet Union ran in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He was eventually appointed head of Khad, the hated Communist secret police agency, where he had ample opportunity to indulge his penchant for ruthlessness and savagery. Dostum is a nickname which means "everyone’s friend", and since the collapse of the Communist regime he has shown himself to be an expert player in the byzantine world of Afghan politics, changing sides three times. Whether it be the Uzbeks, the anti-Taleban Northern Alliance, the Americans or the International League of Plumbers, Dostum always wants to be on the winning side. Dostum is said to have grown hugely wealthy from his various side-switches. He certainly fared better than those who crossed him as his death squads acquired a reputation for ruthless brutality. He is earmarked by many as a future leader of Afghanistan.