Saudi Arabia ‘has key role’ in rebuilding Afghanistan: former president Hamid Karzai

Karzai warned that a withdrawal of international troops before a peace deal is signed by the Taliban and the Kabul government would lead Afghanistan into chaos. (AFP/File)
Karzai warned that a withdrawal of international troops before a peace deal is signed by the Taliban and the Kabul government would lead Afghanistan into chaos. (AFP/File)
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Updated 23 December 2020

Saudi Arabia ‘has key role’ in rebuilding Afghanistan: former president Hamid Karzai

Saudi Arabia ‘has key role’ in rebuilding Afghanistan: former president Hamid Karzai
  • Ex-president’s plea to US-led troops

KABUL: Saudi Arabia has a key role to play in the reconstruction of Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of war, the country’s influential former president has told Arab News.
“Saudi Arabia is a great, great friend and brother of Afghanistan,” said Hamid Karzai, who assumed power with the help of Washington after the US invasion that ousted the Taliban in 2001.
“The Afghan people treat Saudi Arabia as an elder brother with immense respect, and have love for Saudi Arabia. It definitely has a role in Afghan peace and reconstruction.”
Karzai warned that a withdrawal of international troops before a peace deal is signed by the Taliban and the Kabul government would lead Afghanistan into chaos.
The pullout of the US-led forces by May 2021 is part of an agreement between Washington and the Taliban in February, which brought the militants to the negotiating table with the Kabul government to reach a permanent cease-fire and a power-sharing government.
“A hasty withdrawal without the achievement of peace, without talks resulting in peace, will definitely lead to more chaos and uncertainty,” Karzai said.
“We don’t want that. We want the US to complete the peace process that it has begun, to make it come to fruition. We want stability in Afghanistan,” he said.
During his last days in office in 2013, Karzai blamed the US military presence in Afghanistan for fueling extremism, militias and civilian casualties, and refused to sign a strategic security partnership in 2013 to allow American-led NATO forces to remain in the country. Now, however, he acknowledges the role of the US in the peace process.
“I do see sincerity in US efforts to bring some form of stability to Afghanistan, which is welcome and which is what we want,” he said, recalling the doubts of many in the Kabul administration, which was excluded from the February Taliban-US deal.
“Good intentions are one thing, pursuing an issue wisely and effectively is another. I hope they will do both. The intention is there; I have seen it in them. We hope they will go about it in a manner that inspires trust in their efforts.”
After the February deal, intra-Afghan peace talks began in September. Karzai has been playing an influential role, keeping in touch with Taliban leaders while also enjoying support among diverse ethnic groups and factional leaders in Afghanistan.
“As sons of this soil, both we and the Taliban must recognize that we must live together and work together and protect our country. It is not difficult; it is easy if we free ourselves from others’ control,” he said.


Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 04 March 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 369,613
  • A total of 6,514 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

LONDON: Saudi Arabia announced four deaths from COVID-19 and 375 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 162 were recorded in Riyadh, 66 in Makkah, 61 in the Eastern Province, 24 in the Northern Borders region, 14 in Madinah, 11 in Asir, six in Hail, two in Najran and two in Jazan.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 369,613 after 336 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,514 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan
Updated 04 March 2021

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan
  • The coalition is taking all precautions to protect civilians as the Houthi militia continue targeting them

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targetting Saudi Jazan.

(developing)


Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan
Updated 04 March 2021

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

AL-MAHRA: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) launched the second phase of the winter clothes project in Yemen’s Al-Mahrah governorate on Wednesday. The aid, which included winter clothing, has benefited 700 people so far.
Local Council Secretary-General Abdullah Neimer praised the role of Saudi Arabia represented by KSrelief for its efforts and interventions in various sectors.
In Yemen also, KSrelief distributed more than 76,184 tons of foodstuffs for those in need in the rural areas of Hadibu, the capital of the Socotra archipelago province.
Meanwhile in Jordan, KSrelief clinics continued providing medical services in the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees. More than 400 patients with various conditions were provided with medical services and prescriptions at different clinics.


DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards
Updated 04 March 2021

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

The British Embassy and British Council in Saudi Arabia have announced the nine finalists for the “Study UK Alumni Awards 2021 in Saudi Arabia.”
The finalists were selected from about 1,300 applicants for their outstanding achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their contributions to strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Saudi Arabia, a statement by the embassy said.
The three award winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by the British ambassador later this year.
The Study UK Alumni Awards were established in 2014 and celebrate the achievements of those who graduated from UK-based higher education institutions and went on to make outstanding contributions in various fields.
Neil Crompton, British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “I am delighted to announce the finalists for the Study UK Alumni Awards 2021. This award celebrates the achievements of outstanding Saudi women and men who studied in the UK and are using their education to make a positive impact. As strategic partners for Vision 2030, we are proud of their achievements and contribution to their country. My congratulations to all our finalists and I look forward to meeting them at the award ceremony.”
Eilidh Kennedy McLean, British Council country director said: “The Study UK Alumni Awards provide a platform for recognizing and celebrating the success of Saudi alumni of UK universities. Their achievements are wide-ranging and inspirational, and directly contribute to the Vision 2030 goals and aspirations. The prestigious international award celebrates UK higher education and the achievements of UK alumni all over the world. Now in its seventh year, international UK alumni applied from over 100 countries, representing almost 150 UK higher education institutions across the UK.”
The finalists of the “Professional Achievement Award,” which recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership in their professional field, are: Dr. Taghred Al-Ghaith, Dr. Roua Al-Subki, and Dr. Mohammed Al-Shammari.
The finalists of the “Social Impact Award,” which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, are: Mashni Al-Saeed, Abdulmohsen Al-Dayel, and Dr. Bandar Al-Osaimi.
The finalists of the “Entrepreneurial Award,” which highlights alumni who have played a leading role in innovation, are: Dr. Wail Mousa, Arwa Al-Ammari, and Hattan Ahmed.
The Study UK Awards ceremonies are held in 13 countries including the US, China, Pakistan and Egypt.
 


Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims
Updated 04 March 2021

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

RIYADH: The Sri Lankan government has agreed to the request of the Muslim World League (MWL) — in accordance with Islamic procedures — to stop cremating the bodies of Muslims who have died of COVID-19.
The news came in a phone call to Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, MWL secretary-general, from Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena.
During the call, Gunawardena told Al-Issa that the Sri Lankan government had agreed to the MWL’s request. Gunawardena said that this served to strengthen the close relationship between the MWL, which is a global reference for Muslim nations, and the Sri Lankan government.
Al-Issa thanked Sri Lanka for approving the MWL’s request to stop the cremation of the bodies of Muslims and instead allow their burial.
The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s decision.
The OIC said that it had on several occasions during the pandemic called on Sri Lankan authorities to refrain from cremating Muslims and to give them an Islamic burial.
 

The Kingdom vs. COVID-19
How Saudi Arabia acted swiftly and coordinated a global response to fight the coronavirus, preventing a far worse crisis at home and around the world
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