First stone of Aga Khan-backed university laid in Tajik east

The foundation stone of the Central Asian University campus has been laid in the eastern Tajik town of Khorugh, Tajik television reported on 6 July.

It said President Emomali Rahmonov and his entourage (presumably including the visiting world Ismailis leader Prince Aga Khan IV) had attended a ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the university campus, and that Emomali Rahmonov had laid the first stone for the campus.

Aga Khan leader has granted 5m dollars to a donor fund, which he himself has set up, for the construction of the university.

Source: Tajik Television first channel, Dushanbe, in Tajik 1300 gmt 6 Jul 04

Second bridge linking Tajikistan to Afghanistan commissioned

The second bridge linking eastern Tajikistan with Afghanistan across the River Panj has been commissioned, Tajik television reported on 6 July.

Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov, the deputy head of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan, Prof Nematollah Shahrani, and the spiritual leader of world Ismailis Prince Aga Khan IV attended a ceremony held to commission the bridge in the Ruzvay area of Tajikistan's Mountainous Badakhshon Autonomous Region today, the television said.

Quoting President Rahmonov it said: "The commissioning of this facility will promote the stepping up of economic relations between Tajikistan, Afghanistan and international organizations."

"The opening of the second bridge will provide for the timely delivery of essential goods and international aid necessary for the restoration of Afghanistan," the television quoted Rahmonov as saying.

Another three bridges are expected to be built across the River Panj to link Tajikistan with Afghanistan in the near future, the television said.

Source: Tajik Television first channel, Dushanbe, in Tajik 1300 gmt 6 Jul 04

World Ismaili leader Aga Khan opens bank in Tajik capital

Dushanbe, 5 July: The spiritual leader of world Ismailis, [Prince] Aga Khan, opened the first Tajik bank offering loans to small businesses in Dushanbe today, as part of his official visit to the country.

Prince Aga Khan is familiarizing himself with the process of the implementation of projects, which are being funded by his organization for development (AKDN [Aga Khan Development Network]).

The Ismaili leader said the fund of the bank was about 3m dollars, although it would be increased to the necessary proportion if demand arises. He said the bank would assist entrepreneurs and farmers who are unable to receive loans from commercial banks.