UAE support for Afghanistan’s redevelopment ‘vital’
ABU DHABI // The UAE’s support has been vital for Afghanistan’s continuing redevelopment and growth.
That was the message from Hekmat Karzai, the founding director of the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Afghanistan, during a lecture in the capital on Monday.
Mr Karzai spoke at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research about the outlook for the country this year.
“As an Afghan let me take this opportunity to thank the UAE for the hand that it has extended to Afghanistan,” Mr Karzai said.
“The UAE is one of the very few Muslim countries that has provided assistance and support to the Afghan people and Afghans won’t forget that. The UAE has embarked on various initiatives, it has built schools and infrastructure. My favourite project is a training programme established by the UAE to train over 20,000 religious clerics.
“In today’s world where battles are won by ideology, training clerics is of the utmost importance.”
Mr Karzai also hailed the work of the Emirates Centre, which he said was of crucial importance for the region.
Presidential elections in Afghanistan will take place in April, with the current leader Hamid Karzai stepping down after two terms.
Also of key importance was the continuing US intervention in the country and the possibility of signing a bilateral security agreement, which could lead to a continued US presence.
“2014 has become a very difficult year for Afghans because we have started to hear different scenarios for what happens after 2014. Some say that immediately after there will be an overnight civil war in Afghanistan – they will start killing each other and turning on each other and they say this because for the last three and half decades we have had a very bloody history.”
Mr Karzai identified three transitional areas that must be developed in unison to ensure a successful future: improved security, political stability and economic improvement.
He said he believed the help of countries in the region would make Afghanistan stronger.
“There is hope but at the same time 2014 also represents a fear that this will all come crumbling down. But I believe that with partners like the UAE, Afghanistan will not just survive but it will transform itself into a country that is no longer known for terrorism, but a country that has the ability to be a bridge between different regions,” he said.
Published: February 3, 2014 04:00 AM