Sister Cities International is a program that works to create bonds between different cities around the world, with the goal of community impact through citizen diplomacy, economic growth opportunities, peace and stability initiatives. There are currently multiple Sister Cities partnerships between the United States and Afghanistan, including between San Diego, California and Jalalabad; Herat and Council Bluffs, Iowa; Bamiyan and Scottsbluff and Gering, Nebraska; Ghazni and Hayward, California.
To celebrate the launch, the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan hosted a panel discussion on May 23 featuring DM Rahim; the Vice President of Sister Cities, Adam Kaplan; and Brad Hanson, a former State Department official based in Herat, to discuss the advantages the partnership will bring to Kabul and Kansas City.
Ambassador Mohib gave introductory remarks, highlighting the importance of the Kabul municipality’s work in reforming the city’s institutions to improve service delivery. The Deputy Mayor shared insight into daily life in Kabul, and also spoke about reforms on-going in the municipality, the municipality’s priorities for improving traffic, roads, and waste management in the city, and collaboration with security institutions.
Additionally, Deputy Mayor Rahim met with representatives of the World Bank working on urban transport, urban development, environment and urban water management in Afghanistan. During the meeting, Deputy Mayor Rahim said that Kabul is the 5th fastest growing capital in the world, and emphasized that the municipality’s priorities are “improving the arterial roads to increase movement and access for our citizens, and water and solid waste management”. He spoke about the success of the Kabul Municipality Development Program, a popular municipal program that improves neighborhoods around Kabul city.