190919 Afghan independence
Afghanistan independence celebrations in the UAE. Anwar Ahmad/Gulf News Image Credit: Anwar Ahmad/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Afghan community in the UAE celebrated their 100th anniversary of the Independence Day of Afghanistan at the embassy premises on Thursday evening.

A large number of Afghans gathered at the mission to mark the day.

The nationals along with the mission officials and community members prayed for peace in their home land and prosperity to prevail so that their countrymen get good education and healthcare.

The Afghan ambassador to the UAE, Abdul Farid Zikria hoisted the national flag and cut the cake along with the community people.

A strong community of about 120,000 Afghans is present in the UAE. The community here comprises labourers in construction and agricultural sectors (about 80 per cent), traders and businessmen (19 per cent) and professionals (one per cent).

The largest Afghan community is located in Al Ain, followed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Speaking to Gulf News, the ambassador said: "I would like to extend my warm greetings and felicitations to all the Afghan expatriates living in the Gulf countries and especially in the UAE.

"Afghanistan has made significant progress in many areas, with support from friends like the UAE. This march towards peace and prosperity would not have been possible if such generous support were not extended by our friends worldwide.

"After decades of stagnation, our civil society is once again vibrant; our economy is more dependent on local revenues, and we will soon become a hub of trade in the region.".

In fact, the independence day falls on August 19, but the mission decided to postpone it and celebrate on September 19 as most of community people were travelling outside the UAE for vacations.

Last month we had small events but major celebrations occurred today, Zikria said.

The envoy added: "We must keep up this spirit of unity and continue the march towards peace, development and prosperity in the region and in the world."

Mohammad Jameel Khan, a carpet seller in Abu Dhabi turned up to the embassy, said: "We pray that peace may prevail in our country and all should live happily back home. Education and healthcare are most important things that must be fully restored in the country."

Another national, Abdullah Zuma Khan, said: "We want peace and security in our country so that tourists can arrive in large numbers and our economy do better."

He expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the people and Government of the UAE, especially to President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for their support and interest in Afghan peace, stability and prosperity.