A new flag will soon be added to the beam hanging in the Union City Council Chambers.
On Tuesday, the City Council adopted Asadabad, Afghanistan as the sixth and newest international city to Union City’s Sister City program.
“Many cultural exchanges will be possible,” said Deputy City Manager Tony Acosta.
Acosta said the addition of Asadabad will help the city build stronger ties to the large Afghan American community in Union City and southern Alameda County, as well as provide learning experiences for Asadabad and Union City youth.
“There is significant interest by local Afghani-Americans in establishing a series of Sister City relationships that will build mutual understanding and appreciation between our two nations,” Acosta wrote in a staff report.
According to Acosta, Hayward has a sister city relationship with Ghazni, Afghanistan, and the Asadabad Sister City Committee, which approached Union City with a proposal late last year, has made efforts to establish a relationship with Fremont as well.
Asadabad is the capitol of the Kunar Province in Afghanistan, located in the northeastern region of the country near the Pakistan border.
According to a presentation prepared by the Union City Friends of Sister Cities, Asadabad is a growing city with a population of about 48,500. Within the last decade, the city has seen a steady growth in business, primarily in agriculture and trade.
Ahmad Zamani, a local resident and liaison for the Asadabad Sister City Committee, thanked city officials for supporting the relationship Tuesday night. He said members of the Afghan community in Union City have already established an informal relationship with cities in Afghanistan through their efforts in providing financial aid, supplies and other resources to relatives overseas.
The relationship with Union City will be the second Afghan sister city in the immediate area, said Zamani, who also serves as the CEO of community group Afghan Care.
“We are very excited that we’re going to have a new sister city,” said Union City Vice Mayor Pat Gacoscos.
The Afghanistan city will join Union City’s other sisters, which include Pasay City, Philippines; Santa Rosalia, Mexico; Jalandhar, India; Chiang Rai, Thailand, and Liyang, China.
Asadabad will be formally inducted at a “twinning ceremony” to be held during this year’s annual on Aug. 19 at the Union City Sports Center.