Aga Khan, Rakhmonov inaugurate bridge
TAJIKISTAN: Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and the Aga Khan, billionaire spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili Shia Muslims, inaugurated a bridge into Afghanistan on Tuesday in a show of strength by the Tajik leader ahead of November 6 elections. Thousands of the Aga Khan’s followers turned out in traditional dress on both the Afghan and Tajik sides of the River Pyandzh in isolated Ishkashim, 2,700 meters (8,860 feet) above sea level opposite north-eastern Afghanistan. Tajikistan has a key role in stabilising war-torn Afghanistan and in opening up Central Asia for trade with powers such as China, India and Pakistan, Rakhmonov said at the opening of the single-lane bridge that stretches 90 metres across the river and was paid for by the Aga Khan Development Network. “In the near future, we have many plans for building new infrastructure that will have big benefits for our people and the Afghan people,” the Tajik president said in a confident performance in which he at one point clasped his hands above his head in a sign of victory.
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