The Taliban denied they were behind the three explosions in the Kandahar governor’s compound on Tuesday that killed UAE officials who were involved in humanitarian projects but security sources point out that the area is a stronghold of the terror group, virtually a spiritual centre of the movement. It is possible the attack was a signal to the Emirates as UAE has changed its position on terrorism and extremist Islamic movements in the past few years.
UAE has been deeply worried by the spread of IS in Syria and Iraq and its appeal among their citizens with the radical movement gaining adherents and donors. Differences have emerged between Pakistan and UAE over Islamabad’s refusal to send troops to fight a Shia insurgency in Yemen. Pakistan’s close links with Taliban and related groups and its record of strikes against select targets in Afghanistan can only deepen the faultlines.
Indian officials say that UAE’s stand today on terrorism is closer to India’s than ever before, being possibly the only Arab country to support the India-sponsored Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism in the UN.
The shock of the attack evoked strong reactions from Afghan and UAE governments. The Taliban, which owned up to two attacks in Kabul, curiously, blamed the Kandahar attack on “local internal rivalry” among Afghan officials. “(UAE) mourn today the humanitarian efforts of the Emirates in Afghanistan,” Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of the Dubai emirate, wrote on Twitter. Those killed were “helping the weak, children, and the needy,” he said.
The attack against UAE officials might be hard for the Taliban to own up. The UAE has been a big supporter of the Karzai and Ghani governments in the past 15 years. But earlier, UAE was one of three countries that extended diplomatic recognition to the Taliban government between 1996 and 2001.
While UAE drifted away from Pakistan, it has grown closer to India. After PM Narendra Modi visited Abu Dhabi in August 2015, the crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, will be the first UAE leader to be chief guest for India’s Republic Day.
send back all Paki from UAE. no more lip service from UAE. Unless you take action, they will bite the hand, which feeds them.
Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has ordered an investigation but if the perpetrators or planners are seen to have links with Pakistan, it will open a whole new level of questions about Pakistan’s terror games.