Hearts, Minds, Arabs

by Joshua Foust on 3/31/2008 · 2 comments

In a little-reported story, it seems troops from the United Arab Emirates are doing some full-scale combat missions in Afghanistan. The reason for this?

“People are not afraid that Emiratis will harm their religion, or disrespect the mosque or burn the mosque, things of this nature,” [Khost] Governor Patan says.

“People are very friendly with them. Everybody will drag them in for lunch or for dinner.”

These are hearts-and-minds operations at their most effective – drinking tea with Afghans, discussing what help can be provided.

The Emirati approach is to meet their fellow Muslims’ religious needs first, then build schools and clinics later.

Of course, the very salient fact that UAE was one of the only countries to have recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, and to have funded many of their brutal campaigns throughout the 90s, is left unsaid.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Inkan1969 March 31, 2008 at 2:28 pm

There’s also irony in the fact that the UAE lifestyle would probably be seen as very sinful by Taliban ideologues, what with its excessive consumerism and permissive attitude to Western vices like alcohol.

Azad April 3, 2008 at 5:22 am

It’s all Politics. The question is similar to why Pakistan would start fighting its own creation i.e. the Taliban inside its own territory. When the Taliban are in power, send money, Toyota Datsons, jehadis and more. When the Americans are there, send troops, do some combat missions and secure loads of business deals under the banner of War on terror. Perhaps, that is what the UAE is doing. And the questions is, Who is real terrorist?

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