March 22, 2019
UAE Government Denies Discussing Secret Anti-Taliban Strategy With U.S.

By AMI Newswire

There is no secret U.S. approved plan to use mercenaries to execute leaders of the Taliban terrorist group. The Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates denied allegations in regional media that senior UAE leaders had discussed using targeted assassinations (a frequent Taliban tactic) against the group to improve prospects for U.S.-led negotiations with the Taliban.

“I was at Sh[iekh] Mohammad bin Zayed meeting with Secretary Pompeo [and I] can attest that the Al Jazeera English report on the Taliban “assassination” claim is fake news,” tweeted Anwar Gargash today, “Too many times Al Jazeera is the region’s source of fake news especially following Qatar’s crisis.”

The Al Jazeera article in question suggested that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed with Mohammed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s influential crown prince.

A recent article in AlJazeera and other regional media outlets alleged that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was told by Mohammed Bin Zayed that UAE could hire unspecified “mercenaries” to kill “backward, bearded bad guys” to kill Taliban leaders.

The meeting took place months ago, and at the time no such allegations were made. Furthermore, the United States government engaging in such activity would be against U.S. law as a source close to the U.S. State Department made clear. It is also unlikely that any “mercenary” group could have the capacity to carry out an operation that has alluded U.S. and NATO forces for close to two decades.

The recent allegations come at a sensitive time for the United States government which is entering into negotiations with the Taliban, a terrorist group with which U.S. forces have been deployed in Afghanistan since 2001. The United Arab Emirates was earlier involved in such negotiations but, recently the Taliban have signalled their preference to use Qatar as an intermediary.

This maybe due to the UAE’s agreement to join a new NATO training mission to Afghanistan last year. While the government of Afghanistan welcomed the UAE, it did not accept a similar training mission from Qatar according to an article in Stars and Stripes last year.

The United Arab Emirates has long supported American foreign policy and the NATO mission in Afghanistan since 2001. In 2003, the United Arab Emirates joined the NATO mission and has deployed a host of soldiers from engineers to special forces operatives to assist the war on the Taliban. The United States is currently negotiating with the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan to end its involvement in the conflict prompted by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack

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