KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani has met the first group of hajj pilgrims before departing for Saudi Arabia to perform the annual pilgrimage, the Presidential Palace said on Monday.
A statement from the Presidential Palace to Pajhwok Afghan News said the president met the pilgrims at the Kabul International Airport on Sunday night before the pilgrims were to leave for Saudi Arabia.
The president, who was accompanied by Hajj and Islamic Affairs Minister Faiz Mohammad Osmani, urged the intending pilgrims to pray for peace, stability, development and national unity in Afghanistan.
“You are traveling to an area where Prophet Mohammad S.A.W put his steps and Prophet Ibrahim prayed,” the statement quoted Ghani as telling to the pilgrims.
“I am your first servant and the government is in your service. The Afghanistan Embassy in Saudi Arabia has taken necessary measures for you and provided needed facilities for all Afghan pilgrims,” he said.
Osmani said all required measures had been taken for Afghan pilgrims and the operation would be successful like the previous year due to government’s special attention to pilgrims.
Merajuddin, talking on behalf of the departing pilgrims, said the Afghan government had provided more facilities this time to them than the past.
“The government and the president’s special attention to pilgrims has enabled pilgrims to find access to more facilities than pilgrims of other countries,” he said.
He added Afghan pilgrims would pray for peace in Afghanistan while performing the hajj.
According to the Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs, 30,000 Afghans are expected to perform the pilgrimage this year.