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Afghan President Visits Saudi Arabia

  • VOA News

FILE - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai talks during a news conference in Kabul, Oct. 3, 2014.

FILE - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai talks during a news conference in Kabul, Oct. 3, 2014.

Afghanistan's new president, Ashraf Ghani, is making his first foreign trip since taking office, fulfilling a promise to undertake a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Ghani's office said in a statement Saturday that he will perform Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of the year.

The president will also meet with Saudi King Abdullah and other officials during his visit to Saudi Arabia.

Ghani promised during his inauguration that his first presidential foreign trip would be to Saudi Arabia for Umrah.

Umrah is sometimes known as the "lesser pilgrimage," in comparison to the annual Hajj pilgrimage of Islam.

It is a visit one makes to the Grand Mosque in Mecca, outside of the designated Hajj pilgrimage dates.

The word "Umrah" means to visit an important place.

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