Robert O. Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs: I recently had the pleasure to meet in Washington with Munir Merali, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Representative for Tajikistan. The AKDN is a global organization doing great work in health and humanitarian assistance in Tajikistan. The AKDN has also taken the initiative to sponsor cross-border energy and education activities with Afghanistan, building an important bridge between these two countries.
Mr. Merali showed me amazing photos from his recent trip to Khorog, where he traveled with the U.S., Afghan, French, and Russian ambassadors for the graduation ceremony of the University of Central Asia. At the ceremony, over 60 Afghan students graduated, the first time in 90 years that Afghans graduated on what is now Tajik soil. Moreover, 14 of the Afghan graduates were women. Mr. Merali also described his efforts to build a regional diagnostic center and laboratory at the Khorog General Hospital, which could train Afghan doctors and service the Afghan population. He hopes to build on U.S. assistance to extend Pamir Energy’s transmission to provide electricity to some 1,500 households, across the border.