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President to pay day-long visit to Kazakhstan on Friday

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af-qhazaqistanPresident Ashraf Ghani will pay a day-long official visit to Kazakhstan in the near future, his deputy spokesman said on Wednesday.

Although Syed Zafar Hashimi gave no date, the Kazakh president’s press secretary said the Afghan leader would arrive in Astana on November 20.

The two leaders are expected to exchange views on regional security concerns and cooperation in areas of trade, education, transport and logistics.

Addressing a news conference in Kabul, Hashimi said Ghani would hold talks with his Kazakh counterpart and prime minister on subjects of bilateral interest.

During the presidential trip, officials from the two countries would sign political and economic cooperation agreements, he added.

Ghani will address university students in Astana besides speaking at a joint meeting of Afghan and Kazakh traders.

In response to a query, Hashimi promised the court verdict in the Kabul Bank case would be implemented in letter and spirit. Those having stolen public funds would not be spared, he assured.

Ghani has suspended his legal advisor Abdul Ali Mohammadi and ordered an investigation into a multimillion dollars township construction project in Kabul.

The project called Smart City is being constructed by Khalil Ferozi, former Kabul Bank chief executive, who has been jailed and fined for stealing millions of dollars from the bank that almost collapsed some years back.

Ferozi, who was convicted last year in the massive banking scandal, launched work on the ambitious township -- involving an initial investment of $98 million -- in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Ferozi and Sher Khan Farnood -- founder of what has come to be dubbed as a piggy bank -- had been convicted on charges of defrauding the bank of nearly a billion dollars.

Each was sentenced to 10 years in jail in December 2014. One of the leading Afghan tycoons, Ferozi is said to be serving his jail term at night under a deal with the government.

Members of the selection committee, tasked with nominating IEC and IECC officials, had been named, the deputy spokesman said.