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PublishDate: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 10:37

NATO and ISAF Leaders Host Iftar Dinner for Afghan Officials

Afghan and international leaders from around the capital city of Kabul gathered to take part in an Iftar dinner Aug. 6 at the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters.

Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF commander, and Ambassador Simon Gass, NATO senior civilian representative to Afghanistan, co-hosted distinguished leaders from Kabul to join them for the traditional meal in which Muslims break their fast during the holy month of Ramazan.

The Iftar dinner, (إفطار‎), is traditionally shared as a community, with Muslims breaking the fast together right after Maghib (sunset). Ramazan is one of the most prosperous months in the Islamic calendar; it is a month of sharing, inviting, feasting and praying. During the month of Ramazan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset.

“We hosted this dinner in keeping with the traditions of sharing a special meal with the great people of Afghanistan,” said Allen. “I wish God’s rich blessing on each of you and your families as we worship here and enjoy this meal to break the fast during Ramazan.”

Allen and Amb Gass greeted their Afghan partners and other distinguished guests with sincere smiles and firm handshakes. From there, they were escorted to an area covered with large silk rugs and filled with plush pillows where they can pray, sit and eat meals.

After the Azan (evening call to prayer) at sunset, guests took a bite of a date fruit, drank water or juice, then said brief prayers. As brothers in arms, everyone grabbed a plate of food, sat down and enjoyed their dinner.

The Iftar menu included: rice pilaf, korma, borna, spinach, chicken kabobs, Afghan bread, fresh fruits and salad, catered by a local restaurant.

“Your excellencies, on behalf of my Afghan colleagues, I would like to express our profound gratitude. First for inviting us, and secondly, for participating with us in this holy month and sharing the Iftar,” said Defense Minister of Afghanistan Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak. “This is actually a demonstration of the upmost respect for our beliefs, our faith, our traditions and our culture. We are grateful for this and we hope that with our joint effort, we are able to realize the objectives in which we are all here struggling for in this country.”

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