KABUL, March 27: The Aga Khan and interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai on Tuesday signed an agreement of cooperation for development that establishes a framework for the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Afghanistan, says a press release of the Aga Khan secretariat.
The agreement, the first of its kind signed by the Interim Authority, enables the network to move from the provision of humanitarian assistance to the establishment of long-term development programmes similar to those that have been successfully implemented in Pakistan, India, Tajikistan and other countries in Asia and Africa.
In view of the importance of the Loya Jirga Commission’s mandate in helping to create a future representative government for Afghanistan, the Aga Khan also announced a grant of two million dollars to enable the commission to complete its work.
In outlining specific initiatives, the Aga Khan indicated that rural development designed to promote food security and begin the revitalization of Afghan agriculture was a top priority. The establishment of village organizations to undertake and manage local infrastructure projects such as irrigation works, village roads, schools and clinics will be central to the long-term sustainability of these efforts.
The AKDN’s programmes in Bamiyan, Baghlan and Badakhshan provinces currently benefit some 500,000 people. These will be expanded to Takhar, Kunduz and Parvan/Kapisa.