KHOROG, November 1, Asia-plus - The constructed bridges have played an important role in strengthening commercial links and relations between Tajikistan and Afghanistan and facilitating settlement of many socioeconomic problems in border areas of the two countries, President Rahmonov remarked at a ceremony of inauguration of the reconstructed bridge in the Ishkashim district on October 31.  

According to him, Tajikistan and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which has funded construction of three bridges across the Panj River, reached an agreement on construction of two other bridges in Vanj and Shuroobod.  

His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims and Founder of the AKDN, telling the ceremony said,  “It has always seemed to me that bridges are among the most powerful and important symbols in human society - symbols of connection, of cooperation and of harmony. When harmony breaks down and conflicts ensue, the destroying of bridges is usually among the most urgent targets. But when peace and healing come, then it is the construction and rehabilitation of bridges that marks our progress.”

He noted that in the recent past, in this region, bridges have opened at Tem, Darwaz and Langar. “Like them, the Ishkashim Bridge is a concrete expression of cooperation amongst the Governments of Tajikistan and Afghanistan and the Aga Khan Development Network. It symbolizes our common determination to help open up the region to new development and improved prosperity,” the Aga Khan said..

“The Aga Khan Development Network has contributed $ 1,700,000 to the four bridges at Tem, Darwaz, Langar and Ishkashim, but we would like to go further than this, as next year we hope to build new bridges at Vanj and Shurobad,” said the Aga Khan, “Since the beginning of this exciting program, over 2000 tons of wheat, 500 tons of milk and 160 tons of beans have crossed from one country to the other, significantly increasing food security.”  

Afghan Vice-President Muhammad Akrim Khalili joined President Rahmonov and the Aga Khan in the ceremony of inauguration of the bridge in the Ishkashim district.