CDHR’s Commentary: In collaboration with the incredibly weak and corrupt Afghani government, the Saudi monarchy has recently announced that it will invest $100 million in building one of the largest Islamic Centers in the world atop a mountain overlooking the Afghan’s impoverished capital, Kabul. The Center will be managed by the Saudi religious establishment and the Afghani Ministry for Hajj and Religious Affairs. The proposed King Abdullah’s Center will accommodate 15,000 worshipers at a time and provide an education for 5,000 religious students. The Center will be named after King Abdullah, which is not surprising since there are already three massive Islamic centers and mosques named after Saudi monarchs: King Fahd’s Centers in Culver City, California and London, England, and King Faisal’s Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan, which is considered Pakistan’s national mosque.
Afghanistan is the poorest country in Central Asia, coming in nearly at the bottom of the human development index, with abysmal literacy and education rates, an almost complete lack of women's rights, low life expectancy, and wrenching high mortality rates for children, with nearly a fifth of all Afghan children dying before the age of five. The 100 million dollars the Saudis will invest in the Kabul Islamic Center could be better used for programs to improve literacy, infrastructure, or healthcare for the impoverished Afghan people; instead the Saudi King has decided to spend a huge sum of money to propagate Wahhabism in a country where most of the citizens are already religious zealots.
Outside interference by foreign powers has long plagued Afghanistan, but nothing can top the Saudi “Wahhabization” of the country; the establishment of King Abdullah’s Center in Kabul is yet another example of this. The Saudi government hopes to socialize and indoctrinate a new generation of religious students for political aims, just as they have in the past by means of the infamous Saudi funded madrassas in Pakistan’s tribal areas, which continue to be the primary source of recruitment for the Sunni Taliban extremist groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates were the only countries in the world to give diplomatic recognition to the extreme Taliban regime during its draconian rule over Afghanistan.
The construction of such a monumental religious institution in Afghanistan's capital is a maneuver by the Saudi rulers to ensure that their doctrinal hegemony remains not only over Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of the majority of foreign forces in 2014, but over all of the Sunni Muslims in Central and South East Asia, especially in the oil and other resource-rich former Soviet colonies.