Avalanche kills 6 soldiers in Indian Kashmir

Updated 16 December 2012
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Avalanche kills 6 soldiers in Indian Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India: An army spokesman says an avalanche in the high Himalayas has killed six Indian soldiers in the Indian portion of Kashmir.
Lieut. Col. J.S. Brar said the avalanche hit the Siachen Glacier early Sunday, burying the six while they were on guard duty.
Brar says their bodies have been recovered but a search for a seventh soldier was called off due to bad weather.
Avalanches and landslides are common in Kashmir, which is divided between India and neighboring Pakistan. The two also dispute the undemarcated border through the Siachen Glacier.
In April, an avalanche in the Pakistan-controlled part of the glacier killed 140 people, including 129 soldiers.


UAE builds $190m township in Kabul

Updated 7 min 58 sec ago
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UAE builds $190m township in Kabul

  • Housing complex in Afghanistan will include 3,330 residential units and state-of-the-art infrastructure, amenities and power station.
  • With an estimated cost of $150 million, this is the first mega housing construction scheme built for free by a foreign country in Afghanistan since the ousting of the Taliban government in 2001.

KABUL: The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) is financing a 708 million dirham ($190 million) upscale social housing development project in Afghanistan.

Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed City Housing Complex in the Qasba district of Kabul will include 3,330 residential units with state-of-the-art infrastructure, amenities and other support services.The project was inaugurated by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Mohammed Saif Al-Suwaidi, director general of the ADFD, over the weekend, according to a ADFD press release on Monday.

With an estimated cost of $150 million, this is the first mega housing construction scheme built for free by a foreign country in Afghanistan since the ousting of the Taliban government in 2001, Afghan officials said on Tuesday.

“The emirate has also promised to build a power substation for providing electricity for the township,” Nilofar Langar, chief spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Rural Development and Housing, told Arab News. He said that this, combined with the water filtering facility, will cost an additional $40 million.

 

 The ADFD director general led the UAE delegation at the opening ceremony. Other attendees included Saif Al-Shamsi, charge d’affaires at the UAE Embassy in Afghanistan; Sadat Mansoor Nader, Afghan minister of urban development and housing, as well as other Afghan government officials.

“Today is a happy day … that with the close cooperation of brotherly UAE, the people of Afghanistan witness a clear and distinct change in their lives,” President Ghani said in a statement.

He hoped there would closer ties between the private sectors of the two countries to facilitate commerce.

Ghani’s government has been trying to forge closer ties with Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where Afghans have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the past two decades.

The ADFD first started supporting development projects in Afghanistan in 1977 and has since invested 1.2 billion dirhams in 14 different projects contributing to the economic and social growth of the country. Some of the key investments were made in housing, social services, health, education, transport and industry.

The ADFD has also invested in repairing major roads and bridges in Kabul, as well as Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport.

The apartment units constructed by the ADFD are being sold by the Afghan government to its employees as part of a 20-year loan installment deal, Foreign Ministry officials told Arab News.

The exodus of hundreds of thousands of Afghans from Pakistan and Iran, with little arrangement for accommodation, has led to a spike in demand for housing in Afghanistan over recent years, the official said.

FACTOID

The mega housing project was inaugurated by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday. Abu Dhabi Fund for Development financed the 708 million dirham ($190 million) social housing development project. The ADFD has also pledged to build a power station.