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Saudis to build major Islamic center in Afghanistan

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 7:01 EDT
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File photo of Kingdom Tower in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia will build a massive Islamic centrer with a university and a mosque in Afghanistan, an Afghan minister said Monday.  Photo via AFP.
 
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Saudi Arabia will build a massive Islamic centre complete with a university and a mosque in Afghanistan, an Afghan minister said Monday, describing the project as “grand and unique”.

Estimated to cost up to $100 million, the centre on a hilltop in central Kabul will house up to 5,000 students, Dayi-Ul Haq Abed, the acting Hajj and religious affairs minister told AFP.

It will be named after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the minister added.

“The agreement was signed last week in Jeddah. The construction will start next year, in couple of months or so,” Abed said.

The mosque, similar to the Faisal Mosque in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad that was also built by oil-rich Saudi Arabia in 1980s, will hold 15,000 worshippers at a time.

The minister said the centre will be run jointly by the Saudi and Afghan ministries of religious affairs. Other universities in Afghanistan are run by the higher education ministry.

Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries — along with Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates — that recognised the hardline Islamist Taliban regime during its rule in Afghanistan from 1996-2001.

The Taliban were overthrown in a US-led invasion shortly after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington for harbouring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but have waged an 11-year insurgency.

The US and NATO still have more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai, but they are due to pull out all combat forces by the end of 2014.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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