No new UAE envoy a year after Kandahar bombing

Wednesday, 10 January 2018 02:12 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 954 times

Although relations between Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are described as “close”, the United Arab Emirates has not sent a new ambassador to Afghanistan a year after its top diplomat was killed in a bombing in southern Kandahar province. Juma Al Kaabi, the former UAE ambassador to Afghanistan, died of wounds he sustained in a blast inside Kandahar governor’s high-security guesthouse in January 2016.


Following the incident, President Ghani paid two visits to the United Arab Emirates, and said UAE-Afghan ties not only would not be affected, but also would flourish. However, the Gulf state has not yet sent a new envoy to Kabul a year after the Kandahar incident. 

Khalid Hatam, a political expert, said the regional and global policies of the United Arab Emirates have an impact on situation in weak countries like Afghanistan.

The UAE lost its ambassador to Kabul so appointing a new envoy will take time, Hatam expressed, stressing that the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs had the responsibility to regularly hold discussions with UAE officials. 

According to him, though the absence of ambassador would not affect the day-to-day affairs of UAE Embassy in Kabul, the role and perspective of envoy was crucial in government to government interaction. 

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has recently limited visas to Afghan nationals, a move that has led to a drop in flights between the two countries.  If the UAE had envoy in Kabul, the Afghan government could discuss the issue with him, he added, saying that Kabul had no role in the early appointment of ambassador. 

Another political expert, Sebghatullah Saber, said the country’s foreign affairs were handled by the Presidential Palace instead of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs because of it being weak and inactive. 

“If our Ministry of Foreign affairs had been strong, active and committed to national values, it could have convinced Emiratis within a few months to send new ambassador to Afghanistan,” Saber told The Heart of Asia, blaming “weak background check system” in the country for UAE’s apparent indifference towards, and mistrust of, Afghanistan as some Afghans and foreign nationals traveled to the United Arab Emirates with fake Afghan passports.

According to Saber, if Afghan diplomats in UAE had been active, UAE would have felt the need to have envoy in Kabul, and would have not been as indifferent as now. 

Despite repeated attempts by The Heart of Asia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on the issue.


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