The Ismailis of Afghanistan: MORE LINKS AND NEWS ON AFGHAN ISMAILIS
According to the BBC Monitoring Service, the minister of information and culture, Dr Sayd Makhdum Rahin, has visited the current reconstruction work on the Babor Garden on July 26, 2002. During the visit, he recalled that the Babor's Garden is one of the pleasantest places for the people of Kabul, and said that the garden contains the mausoleum of Babor Shah and Queen Qamar, as well as other monuments. Unfortunately, these have been damaged by the passage of time, carelessness and continuous wars. Dr Rahin said that the Agha Khan institution, the friendly country of Germany and some American organizations have taken an interest and begun large-scale activities to reconstruct Babor's Garden.
New Bridges to provide vital food access:
The press-report highlighted in Islamabad on July 25, 2002 that the construction of five new bridges by the Aga Khan Foundation between the remote northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan and the southeastern Badakhshoni Khui province in Tajikistan, will help improve the food situation in extremely vulnerable areas, aid workers told IRIN on Thursday. Both provinces are very mountainous, difficult to reach and are geographically isolated in economic terms.
White Death endures in Central Asia:
On July 20, 2002 a report released that : “Locals say an intervention by the Aga Khan, leader of the Ismaili community, helped halt the downward spiral. The billionaire, who has been channelling aid to the region since the fall of the Soviet Union, made his help dependent on the halt of drug cultivation and trafficking. "And we know for a fact now that none of our farmers grow poppy," said Mirza Jahani, chief executive officer of the Aga Khan Foundation in Tajikistan. "We are involved in every community and we know what is going on." In exchange for turning their back on the lucrative drug trade, the Aga Khan promised to increase the number of development projects in the area and started sending humanitarian help to the Afghan communities settled across the Panj River. Within a few years, the level of drug consumption and trafficking plunged dramatically in Khorog and its surrounding areas.”
Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan:
Another report of July 4, 2002 reveals that the third stage of the action by the international humanitarian coalition (IHC) to give food aid to Northern Afghanistan is being postponed until the autumn. The chief engineer of the Badakhshonnakliyet (the main freight company) joint-stock company, Kudrat Davlyatenov, told a Vecherniy Bishkek correspondent this, quoting the organizers of the operation. He said that the drivers of the Osh [Kyrgyzstan] and Mountainous Badakhshon [Autonomous Region] (Tajikistan) transport enterprises that are involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid have been sent off on unpaid leave
The Finanicial Times (May 31, 2002) reported : “...Many hope that by returning Afghanistan to its multi-cultural roots, they may build a bulwark against the return of Islamic extremism. "Having a living culture in a country is a way to support cultural pluralism rather than sectarianism," said Stefano Bianca of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which pledged $5m.”
It was further reported on April 30, 2002 that the Imam will help revitalize Kabul area. Aga Khan Cultural Services (Afghanistan), a newly established affiliate of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), will lead the revitalisation of a significant but currently degraded urban area in central Kabul around the historic Timur Shah Mausoleum.
The Interfax News Agency, Moscow reported on April 30, 2002 that the Russian President Vladimir Putin and [spiritual] leader of the Shiite Muslim [Ismaili] community Prince Karim Aga Khan IV discussed peace settlement in Afghanistan.
On April 3, 2002, the Humanitarian organizations continue to provide aid in clearing up the aftermath of the earthquake in the Afghan town of Nahrin. The delivery of aid to the region is being complicated by the difficult accessibility of the regions, mines, poor sanitary conditions and changeable weather. After a meeting with the local authorities in Nahrin, which took place on 29 March, FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance, an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, is also implementing an emergency programme to resolve the problems of drinking water and sanitation.
On March 23, 2003, the Imam and Mr. Hamid Karzai, Chairman of the Interim Authority of the Government of Afghanistan today signed an Agreement of Cooperation for Development that establishes an operating framework for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Afghanistan. The Agreement, the first of its kind signed by the Interim Authority, enables the Network to move from the provision of humanitarian assistance to the establishment of long-term development programmes similar to those that have been successfully implemented in India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and other countries in Asia and Africa. In view of the importance of the Loya Jirga Commission's mandate in helping to create a future representative government for Afghanistan, the Aga Khan also announced a grant of US$2 million to enable the Commission to complete its work.
The Afghan girls went back to school for the first time in five years on Saturday, March 23, 2002, elated and emotional at the end of the draconian ban on female education imposed by the now ousted Taliban regime. Interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai and the UN's special envoy for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi led a ceremony to celebrate the start of the new school year at the capital's Amani High School. Some 500 officials and pupils attended the ceremony, including Interior Minister Yunus Qanooni, Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, the Agha Khan and UNICEF chief executive Carol
The Tajik news agency Asia-Plus - Dushanbe, Tajikistan (March 15, 2002) reported: The construction of a bridge across the river Panj to Afghanistan has been started in the Tem microdistrict in Khorugh [in Tajikistan's eastern Mountainous Badakhshon Autonomous Region, MBAR]. The head of road building department No 8, Usmon Yormamadov, told Asia-Plus that the construction project had been submitted by the Rahkinkraft [transliterated] production association. The project costs 385,000 dollars, which have been allocated by the AgaKhan foundation's MSDSP [the Mountain Societies Development and Support Programme]. The bridge will be 135 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and have a load-bearing capacity of 25 tonnes.
On March 12, 2002, the daily English Dawn from Karachi writes: "Prince Karim Aga Khan has said he was considering to open a micro finance bank, and take part in other welfare activities in Afghanistan to help alleviate poverty from that country. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of first Micro Finance Bank, set up by the Aga Khan foundation in Pakistan, he said here on Monday that a similar bank would be established in Afghanistan owing to growing poverty and other economic problems being faced by the Afghan government.
It is learnt from the report on January 21, 2002 - Tokyo, Japan: His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims today announced, at the International Conference on Reconstruction Assistance to Afghanistan, a multiyear commitment of US$75 million by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to help re-build Afghanistan
Aga Khan: I think that unfortunately, the civilised world has not been able to change the social, ethical, human norms that the Taliban movement tried to impose on Afghanistan. And here I want to be clear: everyone who tried to change this, Muslim and non-Muslim, they all failed. We cannot say that it is a unilateral failure of a Muslim World or of a Christian World. It is the civilised world, as I understand, which did not succeed in changing that situation. Today, one has to ask this question: "What do we wish for Afghanistan?" One has to ask what this conflict situation will bear. And that is where I have engaged myself, and I engage myself everyday, to try to contribute to the visualisation of a pacified, pluralist, modern and stable Afghanistan and where the original demographics, the demography preceding the conflict, can be re-established. And there are four million refugees that have to be repatriated. So if you want, the problem that I ponder is that the military situation is there, but the most important point is how do we rebuild Afghanistan? If we had to go through that tragedy, and come to that situation where the Afghan population are presently, what can we wish? What can we pray for, for this population? And that is where I think, if you want, that the Ummah can come to a consensus and should contribute to that visualisation.
Un Imam des Shiites Ismaeliens appelle a empecher la famine en Afghanistan
October 31, 2001 - LE MONDE - Selon Karim Agha Khan, imam des chiites ismaéliens, "il faut d'abord empêcher que des gens meurent de faim en Afghanistan, puis reconstruire une société civile".
On October 31, 2001 - PARIS - Reuters News Agency - Story Filed: The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community, said in a French newspaper interview on Wednesday that the United Nations should steer the reconstruction of a pluralist civil society in Afghanistan.
AFGHANISTAN'S BIGGEST PROBLEM - POVERTY - CAN BE SOLVED
October 16, 2001 - WASHINGTON (The Christian Science Monitor via COMTEX). "Can mountain poverty really be alleviated? Or is economic and social development under such onerous conditions a quixotic dream? A 20-year project in Pakistan's northern Karakorum Mountains adjoining Afghanistan provides living proof that sustainable development is possible, even under the most daunting physical circumstances. There, the Aga Khan Development Network has worked at the most local level to enable people to feed themselves, set up their own small businesses, establish communal institutions, and build schools. What was once a hotbed of drug trafficking and conflict is now a peaceful and developing region. " Writes Frederick Starr of the Christian Science Monitor.
SUPPORTING INNOVATION IN AFGHANISTAN - THE EXPERIENCE OF THE AKDN
2002, September: Synergos.org. The fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan opened up myriad opportunities to redevelop the social and physical infrastructure of this devastated country. A major player in its rehabilitation is the Aga Khan Development Network, an entity so large, multifaceted and influential that in some countries it has its own embassy and diplomatic status. Its mission is straightforward: "To develop and promote creative solutions to problems that impede social development, primarily in Asia and East Africa." Headquartered in Gouvieux, France, and comprising a set of specialized developmental agencies, the AKDN has branches and independent affiliates in 12 countries.
AKDN is headed byPrince Karim Aga Khan, one of the world's most prominent philanthropists. In 1956, when he was just 20, he became the leader of the 15 million Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims who live in 25 countries in East Africa and Central and South Asia.