Kabul zoo officials in India seeking elephant, leopards
KANPUR, India — A team of Afghan officials are in India to find an elephant and leopards for Kabul’s war-damaged zoo but transportation through Pakistan could be a problem, they said Thursday.
The Afghan capital’s zoo suffered severe damage during Taliban’s 1996-2001 regime and the authorities are now working to restock with animals donated from India.
“Afghanistan wants an elephant, a leopard and a snow leopard from India because at present it does not have these animals,” Kabul zoo director Aziz Gul Saqeb, who is leading the five-member team in India, told AFP.
“Indian authorities have agreed to help us regarding the upkeep of the elephant once it is transported to Kabul,” he said after inspecting animals in a state-run zoo in the northern Indian town of Kanpur.
Kabul zoo’s showpiece lion Marjan, who was blinded by a grenade blast in 1993, died in 2002.
India and Afghanistan have enjoyed good ties and since the US-led invasion ended the Taliban’s regime. Delhi has committed 1.3 billion dollars to Afghanistan — mainly aid for social services including health and education.
Some 4,000 Indians are building roads, sanitation projects and power lines in Afghanistan, and India is also building the new Afghan parliament.
Zoo chief Saqeb said his officials faced the prospect of a difficult journey with the animals through troubled Pakistan to landlocked Afghanistan.