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Afghan Embassy gets a new man

A year after Masood Khalili left, Sayed Makhdoum succeeds him as envoy, reports Nilova Roy Chaudhury.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2006 22:06 IST

Almost a year after Masood Khalili left to assume charge as Afghanistan's envoy to Turkey, the Afghan Embassy in India has a new man at the helm.

Former Afghan Minister for Information and Culture, Dr Sayed Makhdoum Raheen, arrived in New Delhi earlier this week to take over as the new Afghan Ambassador in India.

A political appointee, Raheen will assume charge of one of Afghanistan's most prized diplomatic assignments a month before the Afghanistan Aid Donors Conference, scheduled to be held in New Delhi next month.

President Hamid Karzai will travel to India to be present at the conference, officials at the MEA confirmed.

Raheen was reluctant to speak about his brief as he has not yet presented his credentials to President APJ Abdul Kalam.

Khalili, the former envoy, who left last year in November, was with the legendary Afghan resistance hero, Ahmed Shah Massoud, also known as the 'Lion of the Panjshir', when he was assassinated on September 9, 2001, two days before 9/11.

Khalili was seriously injured in the attack that claimed Massoud's life and had to spend months undergoing multiple reconstructive surgeries to recover from the attack.

India has provided close to 600 million dollars in aid to assist in the reconstruction of war-ravaged Afghanistan and is closely engaged with Kabul in rebuilding its infrastructure, including roads, highways, a powergrid, schools, hospitals, telecommunications and democratic institutions like its Parliament building.