Vital International Support for Afghanistan and Pakistan

  • 14 January 2010

Day before yesterday, Abu Dhabi played host to special envoys from Afghanistan and Pakistan for a preparatory summit before the London Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan scheduled for January 28 this year. This is a reflection of the UAE’s interest in providing necessary support for addressing political, economic and security related difficulties that the two countries are currently facing. This gesture is part of the broader UAE policy toward the two countries, which has manifested itself on several occasions in words as well as deeds. For example, at the donor countries conference in Pakistan held last April in Tokyo, the UAE pledged $300 million in assistance to Pakistan over a period of two years.
There is growing international interest in supporting development plans of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Experience of recent years proves that safety and military measures alone cannot deal with the problem of extremism, as radical elements thrive on difficult economic and living conditions. The UAE has played a vital role in the strategy of promoting development in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by providing extensive aid and by becoming an important hub for the coordination of international and regional efforts in providing the countries different forms of developmental assistance.  The UAE’s support for both Afghanistan and Pakistan issues from several concerns. First, events taking place in the two countries have a direct impact on the security and stability of the Arab Gulf region. In this context, UAE Foreign Minister His Highness Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, told special envoys from Afghanistan and Pakistan, that participation of the Gulf Cooperation Council of the Arab Countries (GCC) in the meeting sends out a message that the GCC states are more concerned than others about assisting “our brothers in Afghanistan”. Second: Combating terrorism on the Afghanistan-Pakistan front is of particular interest of the UAE and other countries of the “Gulf Cooperative Council,” as any setback therein could lead to an escalation of terrorism in the region, especially in light of the wider goals of such forces. Third: The UAE is an important and responsible country at both the regional and international levels and actively plays a crucial role in any international effort aimed at ensuring safety and stability within its territory and the world, and offers all possible assistance in this regard, be it financial or political.

Making development an important constituent in the fight against terrorism marks a constructive international approach that the UAE supports because poverty, instability, low standards of living and civil and sectarian conflicts engender an environment conducive for the dissemination of the ideology of terrorism. It is for this reason that terrorists and violent groups exist in the most poverty-stricken and violence-ridden areas and work to build a strong bases for recruiting more followers and supporters. Development is the means for eradicating the roots of extremism. The world’s inclination in addressing this front marks an important qualitative change in its global war against terrorism.