x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Khalifa gives Dh200m to help rebuild Afghanistan

The President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has honoured his commitment of continued support for Afghanistan with a Dh200 million (US$54.4m) donation.

A crowd reaches for a piece of meat distributed from the door of a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A crowd reaches for a piece of meat distributed from the door of a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

ABU DHABI // Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has honoured his commitment of continued support for Afghanistan with a Dh200 million (US$54.4m) donation for rebuilding projects. The money will be used to ease the suffering of the Afghan people and help the war-torn country repair its infrastructure.

Yesterday's announcement came two weeks after Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, visited Abu Dhabi to meet Sheikh Khalifa. At an iftar banquet in his honour, Mr Karzai urged the UAE to continue backing Afghanistan to boost economic development and promote investment and trade, according to a statement from the Afghan embassy. Sheikh Khalifa reiterated the UAE's support for Mr Karzai's efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan, reported the state news agency WAM.

"We sincerely hope that the efforts made by the government of Afghanistan will lead to peace and security in that country, a matter which will have a positive reflection on the region as a whole," Sheikh Khalifa said. Mr Karzai thanked Sheikh Khalifa for his support and contribution to his country's rebuilding efforts. "My visit to the UAE is an opportunity to discuss relations between the two countries and to explore ways to enhance them for the benefit of two friendly peoples," he said.

From 2001 to 2006, the UAE gave almost US$120m (Dh441m) in aid to Afghanistan. At the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan in June the UAE's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, pledged $250m toward a $20bn aid package gathered from more than 65 countries. Sheikh Khalifa has directed the Khalifa bin Zayed Charity Foundation to co-ordinate with Afghan authorities to distribute the aid. The money will go towards social, economic, health, education and essential services projects. mchung@thenational.ae