Council Bluffs becomes Herat, Afghanistan's sister city

Posted at 5:23 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 19:39:15-04

An oppressive regime kept Afghanistan down for years.  But, after the collapse of the Taliban, optimism now fills the South Asian Country. 

“Right now Afghanistan is in a different position.  We have good economic centers, we have good universities, most of our children are in school,” said the Mayor of Herat, Afghanistan, Farhad Niayesh.

At just 31-years-old, Farhad Niayesh is the mayor of Herat, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities.  Millennials just like Niayesh are helping the country evolve. 

“As a young lady I understood the challenges in our city and wanted to bring some good positive changes,” said Somaia Ramish.

Twenty-nine-year-old Somaia Ramish broke barriers to become an elected member of council in Her.  Ramish and other rising political stars in Afghanistan want the world to know their country is thriving.

“Herat has a very rich cultural history, a very rich literary history and a very rich economic history,” said Rick Burns.

Rick Burns,  a member of the Sister City International Board of Directors, spent years stationed in both Iraq and Afghanistan and thought an Afghan city would make a great sister city for Council Bluffs.

“We’ll have this signing and most people won’t even know that it happened.  But, I will tell you that it is very significant and we will bear fruit down the road in ways that people won’t even realize,” said Burns.

The Sister City International program was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and promotes economic growth, mutual understanding and friendship between two different cities from around the world.

On Wednesday, Council Bluffs, Iowa and Herat, Afghanistan officially became sister cities.  It’s the start of what both Council Bluffs and Herat leaders call a beautiful relationship.