Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia display unity, closeness on Kingdom’s National Day 

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Mohammad Khan, Afghanistan's first deputy chief executive, slices the celebration cake with Ambassador Al-Khalidi.  (AN photo)
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Saudi Ambassador Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Khalidi speaks with the wife of the US ambassador to Kabul. (AN photo)
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Saudi Ambassador Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Khalidi escorts arriving former Afghan President Sibghatullah Mojadidi across the hotel hallway. (AN photo)
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Saudi Ambassador Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Khalidi delivers his speech. (AN photo)
Updated 24 September 2018

Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia display unity, closeness on Kingdom’s National Day 

  • Unlike past celebrations, Sunday’s event was more elaborate one, from previous  gatherings

KABUL: Standing on the path way that leads to the spacious yard of Serena hotel in Kabul, Saudi’s new ambassador to Afghanistan Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Khalidi, welcomed local and foreign guests as they thronged to attend the kingdom’s 88th National Day.

But with his watchful eyes, he and his two embassy staff left the pathway and rushed past the doorway to embrace some Afghan former and current politicians as well as leaders whenever they arrived on Sunday evening.

As guests arrived, Arabic national music videos showed Arab men in traditional attire, brandishing swords on a big TV screen. 

Later, a video aired delivery of kingdom’s aid to various Islamic countries, including Yemen.

Apart from a number of foreign diplomats, including the US ambassador, other guests were a former Afghan President Sibghatullah Mojadidi and members of factions that Saudi provided military and financial assistance during the war against the ex-Soviet Union.

There were few women and a former Taliban official who currently serves as an official in President Ashraf Ghani’s government.

Unlike past celebrations, Sunday’s event was more elaborate one, from previous  gatherings.

The national anthem of the two nations were played.

A giant billboard displaying the images of King Abdulaziz, founder of the kingdom, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, on one side and those of Ghani and his chief executive, Dr. Abdullah at its other end.

Both Ambassador Al-Khalidi and the top Afghan official attending the event, Mohammad Khan who serves as first deputy chief executive, spoke about the importance of historical bond between Kabul and Riyadh.

“On this occasion, I would like to mention the distinguished historical relations between the two countries. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, whose roots extend to the beginning of the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Al-Khalidi told the guests.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paying great attention towards its bilateral relations with the brother country Afghanistan at various levels in order to achieve peace & security and well-being of its people and actively participates in the international conferences relevant to the Afghan Affairs,” 

Al-Khalidi has been in this posting since May and enjoys more respect in the government compared to his predecessors, according to two foreign ministry officials.

Khan thanked Saudi for its new aid projects in Afghanistan that includes building of a ring-road in Kabul, two main hospitals, four clinics, a center for the country’s clergies and cash for Afghan returning refugees.

“We in the regional and world affairs have equal and close view with Saudi,” he said suggesting Afghanistan wanted that the Islamic countries, particularly, the Gulf nations settle their problem through understanding and talks.


Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of attacking settlements in disputed region

Updated 27 September 2020

Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of attacking settlements in disputed region

  • Armenia’s Defense Ministry said its troops downed 2 Azerbaijani helicopters and 3 drones in response to an attack
  • Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said it launched a military operation along the “contact line”

YEREVAN: Armenia said early on Sunday that neighboring Azerbaijan had attacked civilian settlements in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and urged the population in the disputed region to seek refuge in shelters.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that its troops had downed two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones in response to an attack it said began at 0410 GMT against civilian settlements, including the regional capital of Stepanakert.
“Our response will be proportionate, and the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the situation,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, in turn, said it had launched a military operation along the “contact line,” a heavily-mined no-man’s-land that separates the Armenian-backed forces from Azeri troops in the region, Russian news agencies reported.
The ministry said that an Azerbaijani helicopter had been downed but that its crew had survived.
The two former Soviet countries have long been in conflict over Azerbaijan’s breakaway, mainly ethnic-Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and border clashes have intensified in recent months.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry condemned what it called the “aggression of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan” and said the Armenian side would deliver an appropriate military and political response.
Ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence during a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Though a cease-fire was agreed in 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia frequently accuse each other of attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier.