Colombo: - On June 14, 2019, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met Deputy Director of the SAARC Cultural Center Bindu Urugodawatte to discuss the SAARC Research Seminar on the Islamic Cultural Trails in Afghanistan--which will discuss the topic of "Journey Through Time and Space: Minarets and Mosques, Tombs, Trade, Tradition and Technology."

They also discussed research grant opportunities, which's already been communicated to member-states. He informed her of the recent appointment of Ms. Sahraa Karimi as the Director-General of the Afghan Film and her interest in featuring Afghan films in the upcoming SAARC Film Festival.

Moreover, Ambassador Haidari noted interest in writing an edited book chapter on the status of theater and cinema in Afghanistan and how to revive this industry. He thanked the SAARC Cultural Center for choosing Afghanistan as the host of their upcoming seminar.

***

Colombo: - On June 12, 2019, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari along with OIC Ambassadors attended a briefing meeting chaired by the Honorable Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, who discussed the security situation in the country since Easter terrorist attacks on April 21.

Following presentations by senior security and defense officials of Sri Lanka, Ambassador Haidari commended the strong voice, with which the Honorable Speaker has condemned hate speech, which's provoked communal violence, targeting Muslims. The Ambassador noted that hate speech and alienation of ordinary people's what extremists actively seek to exploit to justify their crimes against humanity. He pointed out that Muslims continue to be the primary victims of terrorism fed by extremism, highlighting the suffering of Afghans as devout Muslims, daily being targeted by Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and others, all of which share a common ideology. 

Ambassador Haidari appreciated the protection of Afghan refugees in Sri Lanka against targeted communal violence and urged UNHCR to help resettle them out as a durable solution, since voluntary repatriation isn't possible now given the threat of #terrorism, which the brave Afghan forces have been fighting on the world's behalf.

***

Colombo: - On June 12, 2019, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met with the UN Director-General of Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Shobini Gunasekera, to secure the tangible support of Sri Lanka for Afghanistan's strong candidate, Dr. Suraya Dalil, for the position of IOM Deputy Director-General. 

As a woman leader, DG Gunasekera appreciates that a woman from a country with relevant, practical experience of internal and external displacement and migration better suits the position's requirements to manage for sustainable, inclusive results with a focus on addressing the often neglected needs of migrant women, youth and children, whom Dr. Dalil has long served as a doctor, humanitarian relief worker, diplomat and minister of public health. 

Afghanistan counts on the continued support of Sri Lanka as a friendly nation and fellow member of SAARC. 

***

Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met with the new Vice Chancellor of University of Colombo, Professor Chandrika Wijeyaratne, on June 11, 2019. They discussed the recently signed Cooperation MOU between Kabul University and the University of Colombo, whose of status implementation they reviewed and agreed that the two Universities should soon initiate student and faculty exchange programs, as well as joint research in their areas of mutual academic interest and concern. 

Ambassador Haidari also pointed out interest by other Afghanistan-based institutions of higher learning, like the American University of Afghanistan, to collaborate with the University of Colombo, enabling more undergraduate and graduate Afghan students to study in Sri Lanka on scholarships to be provided by public and private institutions, including the Sri Lankan and Afghan governments. 

Ambassador Haidari appreciated the support of HE President Maithripala Sirisena and HE Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for further expanding Afghanistan-Sri Lanka bilateral relations, especially through higher education, cultural cooperation and exchange, as well as business and investment.
***

Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met the Honorable Mano Ganesan, the Minister of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Affairs, on June 3, 2019. They discussed the recent tragic terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, which the Ambassador strongly condemned and condoled with the Minister. He encouraged further inter-faith solidarity against communal violence, which extremists often exploit to justify their acts. 

Moreover, they discussed Sri Lanka's ongoing peace-building experience, including conflict management and prevention before and since 2009 when the war ceased. Ambassador Haidari suggested that a senior delegation from the Afghan High Peace Council visit Colombo for a fruitful exchange of lessons to be learned from the relevant experiences of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. 

HE Minister Ganesan welcomed the suggestion, noting their interest in hearing from the Afghan side on how Afghanistan has addressed the challenge of radicalization, which often emanates from its immediate neighborhood. The Ambassador also extended an invitation to the Minister to consider visiting Afghanistan, following the visit of the Afghan delegation to Sri Lanka, in order to further strengthen bilateral relations. 

In addition, Ambassador Haidari invited HE Minister Ganesan to join the Afghanistan-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association, given his relevant portfolio on the key issues of national integration, peace and reconciliation, as well as reintegration of former combatants and displaced persons--among others. 

Relevant news-story:

Ambassador Haidari Calls on the Honorable Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

***

Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari attended a briefing meeting for the diplomatic community chaired by the Honorable Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on May 24, 2019. The briefing focused on the situation in Sri Lanka since the Easter terrorist attacks on April 21. The Ambassador raised concern about the protection needs of Afghan refugees in Sri Lanka, some of whom have been affected by communal violence and remain vulnerable, following the attacks.

Ambassador Haidari recommended resettlement as a durable solution, while urging that special attention be paid to the safety of Afghan refugees, who had fled violent extremism and frequent terrorist attacks at home, cautioning against refoulement, with which UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer agreed. The Ambassador thanked the Government of Sri Lanka and UNHCR for working together to ensure the safety of all refugees. He requested that the UN be supported to provide basic facilities and services for refugees in a secure environment.

Read one of Ambassador Haidari’s early articles on “The Plight of Afghan Refugees,” discussing the main drivers of Afghan refugees’ flight. The piece illustrates how Afghans have been a primary target of terrorism and violent extremism and thus must not be subjected to any violence in reaction to the devastating attacks that were carried out by Sri Lankan extremists, who happened to be Muslim.

***

Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer on May 23, 2019. Following his recent meeting with the Head of UNHCR Office in Colombo, they discussed a range of issues of mutual interest, including the protection needs of Afghan refugees in Sri Lanka, some of whom have been affected by communal violence that followed the tragic terrorist attacks on April 21.

Both sides agreed that one of the key durable solutions to the plight of Afghan refugees is resettlement until the situation in Afghanistan for voluntary repatriation has improved on a sustainable basis.  

Ambassador Haidari greatly appreciated the special attention, which the Resident Coordinator has paid to all refugees, working in close collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka to help ensure the safety of refugees and asylum seekers, including those from Afghanistan. Of some 1500 refugees in Sri Lanka, only a small number of them hail from Afghanistan where ongoing generalized violence and frequent terrorist attacks have driven them out.

Read one of Ambassador Haidari’s early articles on “The Plight of Afghan Refugees,” discussing the main drivers of Afghan refugees’ flight. The piece illustrates how Afghans have been a primary target of terrorism and violent extremism and thus must not be subjected to any violence in reaction to the devastating attacks that were carried out by Sri Lankan extremists, who happened to be Muslim.

***

Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari received a courtesy call from Maldives Ambassador Omar Abdul Razzak on May 23, 2019. They reviewed the status of non-resident bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Maldives, discussing numerous opportunities for further expanding ties between the two friendly countries. 

Both sides stressed the importance of building people-to-people ties through exchanges in the public and private sectors. Ambassador Razzak highlighted tourism and fishing industries as two of the key areas where bilateral trade could focus on developing. Maldives annually imports over $2.5 million worth of various goods from Afghanistan, including dried and fresh horticultural products. 

Ambassador Haidari highlighted various investment opportunities in Afghanistan, encouraging an exchange of trade delegations between the two countries. Maldives's an active member-state of SAARC and extends upon-arrival visa facility to all Afghan citizens, who Ambassador Razzak encouraged to tour his picturesque country, which Ambassador Haidari warmly welcomed and noted that he would inform Afghans of this tourism opportunity.

***

Colombo: - In solemn observance of the first day of National Mourning in Sri Lanka, the Embassy of Afghanistan in Colombo lowered our flag at half mast on April 23, 2019. We also observed two minutes of silence in remembrance of many civilians lost in the heinous terrorist attacks. The people of Afghanistan deeply feel and share this tragic pain.

Relevant news story:

Ambassador Haidari Condemns Terror Attacks in Sri Lanka and Condoles with the Sri Lankan Government and People

***

Colombo: - On behalf of the Government and people of Afghanistan, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari expresses his profound condolences to the Government and people of Sri Lanka on the loss of many civilian lives and limbs in the coward, coordinated terrorist attacks across Sri Lanka on Sunday, April 20, 2019.

“As a victim of terrorism often fueled by extremism, Afghanistan stands in full solidarity with Sri Lanka at this hour of immense tragedy and shares the grief of the families and loved of those, who have perished in the devastating terrorist attacks. We wish the wounded speedy recovery and keep them in our thoughts and prayers, as we hope the perpetrators of these heinous attacks will soon be brought to face the full force of justice,” commented Ambassador Haidari.

From the top leadership of the Government of Afghanistan to ordinary Afghans, statements and messages of heartfelt condolences have poured out, in solidarity with the Government and people of Sri Lanka, a friendly nation, with which Afghanistan enjoys growing bilateral relations.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said: “Attacking churches and hotels and targeting worshipers is appalling, and Afghanistan strongly condemns this heinous act of terror. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and we stand in solidarity with Sri Lanka on this dark day.”

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka and express my condolences to the Government and people of Sri Lanka on the loss of many civilians in the attacks. We stand by Sri Lanka and renew our call for increased international cooperation in the fight against terrorism,” said Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani.

Ambassador Haidari urges Afghan citizens in Sri Lanka to exercise full caution about their personal safety during curfew hours and until the situation normalizes. Those in need of any help should contact the Embassy at +94 76 879 9136 and visit our website and social media pages for updates.

***

Go to Top