ABU DHABI, 13th January (WAM) — The UAE tops the list of countries that are supporting Afghanistan in its efforts to overcome the crises and disasters either from natural catastrophes or wars.
The total assistance provided by the UAE to the Afghan people since the 1970s accounts for more than AED2.5 billion, either in the form of development aid to rebuild Afghanistan, for building schools, hospital and houses, or humanitarian aid provided by the UAE charities to help victims of disasters.
The UAE has supported the Afghan people from the beginning and established diplomatic ties and bilateral relations which supported the political, economic, cultural and social aspects, between the two governments.
The country responded to the call of the United Nations (UN) and other countries calling for the reconstruction of Afghanistan after the war, and pledged $250 million for the purpose.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, had then declared that the UAE will offer Afghanistan financial assistance that will be managed by the Abu Dhabi Development Fund to support development projects in Afghanistan, particularly in the field of housing for widows, orphans, people with disabilities in Kabul, and other governorates.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed stressed the UAE’s commitment to support security and stability, in addition to assisting the Afghanistan government in all fields including military and development.
The UAE and Afghanistan exchanged visits afterwards, as the former Afghanistan President Hamed Karzai visited the UAE and met with President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other high-ranking officials, to discuss the UAE’s support for Afghanistan.
Sheikh Abdullah and other government officials visited Afghanistan to discuss several issues that focussed on development in Afghanistan.
The UAE also organised and participated in many local and international conferences to assist and rebuild Afghanistan. In the UN, the UAE stressed its support towards the efforts aiming to establish peace, security and stability in Afghanistan and called to promote and strengthen the role of the UN to include all development sectors.
The UAE also participated in the meetings of the re-integration working group in the UN. The working group welcomed the progress achieved in the first year of the re-integration of armed people under the leadership of the peace council and the Afghan government.
The UAE then organised a conference on Investment in Afghanistan aiming to attract Investments from all over the world, while the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation organised a seminar in 2013 aimed at assessing the achievements and identifying the lessons learnt from the efforts of the Permanent Commission for Development and Humanitarian Assistance in Afghanistan.
The commission was established in March 2011, as a model for co-ordination with the countries receiving aid from the UAE.
In October 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation organised a conference on investment opportunities in Afghanistan in the agriculture, energy and metals and infrastructure sectors.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed also participated at the conference on Afghanistan in London on 28th January, 2010, along with 70 other countries which supported Afghanistan. The UAE participated in a regional summit for Afghanistan with its neighbouring countries which was held in Istanbul.
Here are the development and humanitarian projects accomplished by the UAE in Afghanistan: From 2009 to 2012, the total assistance provided by the UAE to Afghanistan amounted to AED981.7 million.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, launched an initiative to present AED440 million to support international efforts to end polio by 2018 with an emphasis on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In 2011, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched a strategic partnership through which they offered AED367.3 million to buy and deliver vaccines for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Since 2002, the UAE has contributed AED16 million for irrigation projects in Afghanistan’s rural areas to develop agriculture, in addition to AED28 million in the health sector, AED26 million in education and AED189 million in infrastructure projects.
In 2010, the UAE established a partnership with “Tanweer Foundation for Development” to accomplish the Fatima bint Mohamed Bin Zayed project for production of rugs and the development of Afghanistan’s rural areas.
In March 2008, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan University was opened in Khost province, 200km from Kabul.
The cost of the university, which is considered among the largest projects by the UAE in Afghanistan, amounted to $4.8 million, and included faculties of medicine, engineering, agriculture, technology, sharia, law, literature, education and journalism.
The UAE dispatched a “taskforce” to protect humanitarian convoys sent to Afghanistan. The taskforce worked on the implementation of humanitarian programmes provided to the Afghans. It also supervised the construction of several mosques, in Berwan and Khost provinces.
The UAE force then worked on the maintenance of a school in Blend, in addition to building a wall around it, with the total cost of the projects reaching more than AED1.5 million.
The UAE force played a major role in the rebuilding and development of Afghanistan, which reflected the keenness of the UAE to support Afghanistan and rebuild its national institutions.
The UAE force in Afghanistan has also allocated a medical team to provide health and humanitarian services in many Afghan provinces.
Abu Dhabi Development Fund: The Abu Dhabi Development Fund completed about 16 development projects in Afghanistan at a total cost of AED1.2 billion, in the fields of housing, transportation, social and health services.
The fund declared its presence in Afghanistan from 1977 where it accomplished several development projects.
The fund began by providing an AED16.8 million loan supporting the economy by increasing sugar production with the aim of exporting it.
The fund managed two grants on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government amounting to AED1.28 billion, infrastructure projects in Kabul in 2006.
Concerning housing projects aiming to fulfill Afghanistan’s needs, an amount of AED580 million was allocated to build 3,330 residential units in Kabul.
The fund also allocated AED40 million of the grant to fund a civil aviation monitoring centre in co-operation with the German government.
In April 2009, the Abu Dhabi Development Fund implemented road development projects at an amount of AED20 million.
The Emirates Red Crescent declared that the cost of humanitarian and development projects implemented in Afghanistan reached AED161 million, including the Sheikh Zayed city in Kabul that consisted of 200 houses, two schools, a medical centre and a mosque, in addition to humanitarian programmes and rescue operations.
After the events that occurred in Afghanistan in 2004, the Red Crescent established a refugee’s camp on the Pakistan-Afghan borders and the refugees in this camp reached 12,000.
The Red Crescent also established the Sheikh Zayed city for people with disabilities, consisting of 200 houses in addition to a mosque, and a school.
Moreover, the Red Crescent established the Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Endowment for Orphans, amounting to AED1.25 million donated by H.H. Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, wife of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region.
The Red Crescent office in Afghanistan built a mosque in Khost.
The Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation implemented several humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, aiming to support the Afghan people through the difficult circumstances they were facing due to natural disasters and wars.
The five UAE national men who lost their lives during the implementation of one of the foundation’s projects, were putting the cornerstone of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed orphanage in Kandahar.
The foundation implemented several important projects in Afghanistan, such as the nutritive sufficiency project, from which more than 15 million people benefit. The project is based on the idea of prevention.
During the holy month of Ramadan each year, the foundation implements several annual humanitarian programmes targeting fasting Muslims in 18 Afghan provinces.
In other humanitarian assistance, the Khalifa Humanitarian Foundation sent aid to 2,000 poor families in Nimroz province, which is a desert province.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Humanitarian and Charity Foundation built the Zayed Orphanage House in Afghanistan with a budget of AED25 million.
The Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Humanitarian and Charity organisation built the Sheikh Zayed hospital motherhood and childhood hospital in Afghanistan that includes more than 100 beds, and four operation theatres.