UAE sends strong message to Pak on state-backed terror

27 January 2017

India and the United Arab Emirates would work together to counter radicalisation and misuse of religion by groups and countries to incite hatred and terrorism, a joint statement issued at the end of the visit by UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan said.

"Strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, and there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere," the statement declared.

Though the statement did not mention it by name, it was clearly aimed at Pakistan. It said, "The two sides condemned efforts, including by States, to use religion to justify, sustain and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They further deplored efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and pointed out the responsibility of all States to control the activities of the so-called non-State actors."

India has stepped up diplomatic pressure against terrorism. The UAE has been increasingly uneasy, confronting the twin dangers of Pakistan-supported terror groups in close proximity and the looming threat from Daesh/ISIS.

The most recent reminder was the killing of five UAE diplomats in Kandahar, which the Taliban asserted was not their doing. The UAE is reluctant to openly condemn the Taliban which it had supported in Afghanistan in the 1990s, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. A security team from the UAE has just returned from Afghanistan after investigating the attack in Kandahar.

Minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said the government would take appropriate steps after the team submits its report. For the time being, the UAE government is being circumspect on the possible outcome of the investigation.

But with indications that it may have been the work of the Haqqani network, with help from ISI, as the Kandahar police chief stated, the UAE is in a bind.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani network is now also the deputy leader of the Afghan Taliban, so it would be difficult to insulate the Taliban from responsibility. But it reinforces the Indian position which does not distinguish between good and bad Taliban/terrorists considering both a threat.

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