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Home > National Day
 
Afghans show off their love for UAE

Dhanusha Gokulan / 3 December 2012

Afghan taxi driver Ahmad Khan left his hometown in Kabul to “escape the constant sound of bullets near (his) home”. He has been driving taxis in Sharjah for the last four years, and has learned to speak three more languages since the time he came to the UAE.

“I used to speak only Pashto and a few phrases of Urdu when I came here. Now I can speak Hindi, Arabic and a few phrases of Malayalam,” said Khan.

He said that his biggest concern was the safety of his family back home. “I worry for them. I want peace and economic stability in Afghanistan. If there wasn’t economic instability, I would have stayed behind,” he added.

Recognising the need to bring together the Afghan community in the UAE and to celebrate the close friendship between the UAE and Afghanistan, over 500 Afghans gathered at the Sharjah Cultural Palace on November 29.

The event was organised by Chief Ajmal Khan Zazai, the head of the United Afghan Tribes, in Sharjah on behalf of the 300,000 people from the Afghan community, living in the UAE.

Zazai is Chief of Paktia region in southern Afghanistan, where he looks after 350,000 people in 11 villages and undertakes a number of community development projects. 

Several important dignitaries from the Afghanistan and UAE government also attended the event. Cultural programmes and dances from both the countries were organised and dinner was served for those who attended.

Zazai said one of the main reasons behind the event was to bring the disparate Afghan community together.

“The people living here are not united, there are no cultural organisations that unite them. However, we have been here for a very long time now. Some Afghans have settled here since the 60’s,” he said. The United Afghan Tribes served that purpose, Zazai said.

“It was of utmost importance. We needed a governing cultural body here that would unite us and through this event we are showing our gratitude to the countries that have helped us in our times of need.” Afghanistan, according to Zazai, is currently facing deep economic crisis.

“Wide corruption and lack of jobs for people in Afghanistan is only fuelling the Taleban problem. About $33 billion has been invested as aid money in Afghanistan already. But still there is very poor infrastructure and several economic tensions.”

Through community development projects, Zazai has been working towards employing people in these rural areas for small jobs with a budget of $1,000 a day. 

Several Afghan nationals who attended the event said that it was a great initiative and they would love to see more events of this nature. 

Some came from as far as Al Ain and Abu Dhabi to attend the event.

Zalim Mohammed, 32, who has been living in the UAE for the last 10 years and has four children, who are all studying in schools here, said: “It is a great initiative and we would love to have more of these events.”

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

 

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