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KT edit: UAE’s tolerance stands out during the Afghan crisis

Filed on August 22, 2021
Reuters

Two decades of wasted effort cannot be completed in a month as the White House has come to realise, albeit late. Getting in was the easier part than exiting with few body bags.


The speed of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan may have caught the US military and the intelligence community by surprise, but the UAE’s response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country should set an example to the world. It’s the spirit of tolerance that guides the UAE’s foreign policy and sets it apart from the rest of the world. Hence, it came as no surprise as the country did its part for the Afghans fleeing the new regime in Kabul and heading for refuge in the West. As things stand, the US evacuation will extend past the August 31 deadline set by the Biden administration. Blame it on flawed strategy and planning but much water has flowed under the bridge. Two decades of wasted effort cannot be completed in a month as the White House has come to realise, albeit late. Getting in was the easier part than exiting with few body bags.

And the US knows that it has no room at the Afghan negotiating table as it has been elbowed out by other players, including Russia, China, Pakistan and Turkey. Therefore, the only strategy is to buy time for every American and Afghan partner to get out of the country for the Taliban to complete their victory march in Kabul. American troop numbers are still at close to 6,000 but they will only support the evacuation operations, according to reports. Meanwhile, a government is being formed in Afghanistan as the factions and ethnic groups get together for a post-American future. No one will wager a bet on what the administration would be, but it’s certain that the US has little to offer as it cuts and flies out in a hurry using C-17 Globemasters and other aircraft.

The UAE’s location as it straddles the East and the West makes it the perfect and secure staging ground for a massive airlift of this scale. It is also a reliable partner that the US trusts both during war and peace. Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has also been offered refuge in the UAE. “We highly appreciate the UAE’s humanitarian efforts in facilitating the safe transit of American citizens, embassies’ employees and foreigners who were evacuated from Kabul on their way to a third country,” said President Biden in a call to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It was the first call the White House made to a world leader, and the UAE leadership has shown that a tolerant nation is a safe and reliable nation.





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