14 Nov. 2008
PR# 2008-613

ISAF ensure Afghans’ smooth passage to Mecca

KABUL, Afghanistan - About 45,000 Afghans started their journey Nov. 12 to Mecca as part of the annual Hajj.

The Hajj is an annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that each Muslim strives to complete at least once in a lifetime.

The Afghans began leaving for Mecca through Kabul International, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat and Kandahar International Airports.

“Hajj is the most important religious process that the Government Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has to organise,” said Turkish Army Captain Senol Nazikkol, Hajj planner for ISAF.

ISAF is prepared to support the government in activities related to the Hajj to include monitoring, assisting and responding to requests within its capabilities, helping to ensure the event’s success.

“One of ISAF’s main aims is to increase the positive image of [the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan] in the eyes of the Afghan people,” Nazikkol said.

Helping ensure that pilgrims enjoy a smooth departure on their Hajj is one way that ISAF can do this.

The Afghans will return from Mecca in January.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/