Move has hurt Muslim world and will jeopardize peace process: Kabul

Donald Trump
Updated 08 December 2017
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Move has hurt Muslim world and will jeopardize peace process: Kabul

KABUL: The decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was largely condemned by the Afghan government and public, and the Taliban militants who were fighting to expel US-led forces from the country.
In a statement that came long after the announcement of the US president’s decision, and after many Islamic nations had condemned it, the Afghan presidential palace said it was deeply concerned about the move.
“Realizing the grave concern of the Afghan people and the Muslims of the world, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has expressed its reservations and concern through diplomatic channels on the recognition of Jerusalem [as Israel’s new capital] and relocation of the US embassy, to the leadership of that country.”
The move has hurt the Muslim world and will “jeopardize the peace process in the Middle East,” it said, adding that the Afghan government and people wanted the restoration of the “right of Palestinian people to have an independent state.”
Shortly after Trump’s announcement, many Afghan social media users termed the step another major affront to the Islamic world.
“Trump’s announcement … for the sake of appeasing Israel is an affront to 1.5 billion Muslims and is against all the legal and humanitarian norms,” said Fazlullah Mumtaz, an Islamic cleric.
Qazi Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, a lawmaker of the Afghan parliament, said the house had condemned the move even prior to the announcement.
“This is an unforgivable crime committed by malevolent America. The US has greatly weakened the Muslim world through its direct and proxy wars, gradually implementing its evil designs one after the other,” he told Arab News.
“The Islamic nations and Muslims should rise against this decision in all corners of the world.”
One Afghan, echoing the sentiments of an unknown number of Afghans, said that the slow reaction from President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which relies on US military and financial aid, showed that Ghani was merely an “American man” for failing to condemn Trump’s announcement like the rest of the Islamic World.
Rasoul Sayyaf, a leader for the former Mujahideen factions that fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, said that the US had caused Muslims “an irreparable loss.”
The Taliban, who were ousted from government by the US in 2001, also attacked the announcement.
“Finally, the US has fully exposed its colonialist face and declared enmity toward Islam as well as support for the policy of occupation and colonization of Muslim lands,” the group said in a statement.
 


Morocco inaugurates Africa’s fastest train

Updated 15 November 2018
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Morocco inaugurates Africa’s fastest train

  • King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron boarded the train for the inaugural trip from Tangier to the capital Rabat
  • The high-speed line was completed at a total cost of 22.9 billion dirhams ($2.4 billion)

RABAT: Morocco inaugurated on Thursday Africa’s fastest train which will halve traveling time between the commercial and industrial hubs of Casablanca and Tangier.
After seven years of work on the high-speed railway line, King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron boarded the train for the inaugural trip from Tangier to the capital Rabat.
The train, which was tested at a speed of 357 km (222 miles)per hour and is planned to run at 320 km (198 miles) per hour, will more than halve the 200 km (124 miles)Casablanca-Tangier journey to around two hours. It is about twice as fast as South Africa’s high-speed Gautrain linking Johannesburg’s international airport to the city’s financial district Sandton.

The high-speed line was completed at a total cost of 22.9 billion dirhams ($2.4 billion), according to state news agency MAP. Transport officials were not immediately available for comment. 51 percent of the project was financed by France, Morocco contributed 28 percent and the remaining 21 percent was provided by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. 
Morocco bought 12 double-decker high-speed-trains from French group Alstom that will be operated by state-owned railway ONCF which expects six million passengers on the new train service annually.
The king named the first line Al Boraq after a mythical winged creature that transported the prophets to the heavens. While the Moroccan government and businesses praised the project as a key achievement in developing the country's infrastructure, the line has sparked controversy for its high cost. Critics say that Morocco should be investing in education and health instead.

Officials have said the project will boost growth in Tangier and help attract more investments to northern Morocco where one of Africa’s largest ports is located.
But critics perceive the project as symbolising a two-speed Morocco further accentuating disparities between territories as vast regions in the south and key cities such as Agadir remain without a basic train service.
A train derailment last month near Kenitra 15 km (10 miles) north of Rabat, which killed seven people and injured 125 others, triggered calls for a better allocation of resources by giving priority to improving safety and infrastructure as well as punctuality of basic railway services.