Five diplomats were killed and the UAE envoy to Afghanistan Juma Mohammed Abdullah al-Kaabi was injured in a bomb blast in Kandahar on Jan 10. The official Emirates news agency, WAM, said these diplomats were 'on a mission to carry out humanitarian, educational and development projects in Afghanistan'.
It is suspected that Taliban had carried out the attack although the Pakistan-based militant group has not yet taken the responsibility.
To say that the United Arab Emirates government is rattled by the attack is an understatement by all means.
Emirates, as the UAE is known, was one of only three countries, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, to recognize the Taliban government during its five-year rule of Afghanistan.
In recent years, Dubai, which is also known as the second home of Pakistani elite, business community and working class, has hosted meetings of Taliban and Afghan officials as they struggled to start peace talks.
In short, the Gulf nation is not unsympathetic to the Taliban, though Emirati troops are deployed to Afghanistan after the 2001 U.S.-led forces marched into Kabul and toppled the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda before and after the Sept. 11 attacks.
As a part of NATO-led mission, the UAE deployment has been training members of the Afghan armed forces. And have won the love and admiration of locals by praying with them in community mosques and respecting their traditions as fellow Muslims.
It is known for a long while that transfer of funds takes place through UAE to Afghanistan primarily via Pakistan to support terror groups and activities linked with Daesh and other outfits being operated from safe havens in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal belt and along the Durand Line drawn by the British to separate Pakistan and Afghanistan. Movement of operatives and fund transfers also take place from Turkey, Syria, Iraq and other gulf countries to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
From all accounts the Kandahar attack made the Emirates' security agency to up the ante vis-a-vis Pakistan. It reportedly conveyed to its Pakistani counterpart in 'a very clear and strict terms' to identify the suspect channels and individuals who are involved in these fund-transfer activities.
It is also learnt that UAE has issued "a veiled threat" to Pakistan of adverse consequences "if its request is not complied with". What could be the consequences is anybody's guess. For a perennially fund-starved Pakistan, there can be no more catastrophe than funds becoming scarce with restrictions on investments et al.
Buckling under pressure, the Pakistan government has instructed its agencies to prepare a dossier on illegal money-transfer channels that are suspected to be linked with radical and terror outfits in Pakistan or Afghanistan.
One Peshawar-based hawala operator said, on the condition of anonymity, that an officer of a secret agency had approached him to check details of his recent money transfers from UAE and other Gulf countries to Pakistan.
In addition, ISI has activated its assets within hawala operators particularly in Peshawar, which is the gateway of sorts to militant-infested tribal belt to keep a strict vigil on suspect transfers linked with terror groups and Daesh.
On their part, the UAE authorities have also been focusing on private money exchanges which are primarily remitting money to Pakistan.
UAE has also initiated a coordination mechanism with Afghanistan to exchange information on such suspect transfers.
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