The United Arab Emirates is one of the wealthiest countries in the Persian Gulf region. The caretaker government of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan stated that they are hoping for a good ecopolitical relationship with the UAE.
"The United Arab Emirates' relations with Afghanistan have been tied to economic issues since the relatively distant past," said Haji Obaidullah Sader Khail, head of the Afghan business council in the UAE, in an exclusive interview with TOLOnews.
"They've been involved in several infrastructural projects in Afghanistan and made several hospitals, universities, schools, and residential buildings across Afghanistan in the Past. They carried on with their projects inside Afghanistan since the new establishment took over," he added.
After the republic government's collapse and the Islamic Emirate's establishment in Afghanistan, Turkey and Qatar entered a competition to take over the management of Kabul International Airport. Although Qatar is known to influence the new Afghan authorities and tried hard to take over the country's market, according to Obaidullah Sader Khail, it was the United Arab Emirates that finally signed the contract to rebuild and run the international Kabul airport and "they delivered 80 per cent of what they've promised".
According to Mr Sader Khail, the UAE has never tried to take a side in empowering a specific ethnic group based on cultural or linguistic similarity. "They don't have any border with us like Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan do to base their relations on supporting specific agendas," Mr Sader Khail added, "the interests of the United Arab Emirates in Afghanistan are mostly based on common economic interests."
Some economic experts believe if the caretaker government of Afghanistan pave the way to establish a solid financial relationship at the macro level with the United Arab Emirates, it will gain sustainable economic benefits.
"The UAE is working with different sectors of the acting government of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan to build 200 hospitals across the country, make roads, publish schools' books, build water channels, improve our saffron production to replace the harvest of opium poppies and carpet industry but they are happy to do more," Mr Sader Khail said in his interview with TOlOnews.
"The UAE could even help us extract Afghanistan's rich mines," said Mr Sader Khail pointing to the rich natural wealth of Afghanistan.
The UAE is a vital ally of the west and is known for its extensive diplomatic and commercial relations with most countries worldwide. This country plays an essential role in OPEC and is one of the founding members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council. According to Mr Sader Khail, "they represent the international community in Afghanistan".
However, the non-recognition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan by the international community, including the UAE, has caused uncertainty in the relations between Afghanistan and the UAE.
For this reason, the high-ranking delegations of the United Arab Emirates government have shown interest in investing in Afghanistan in their recent trip to Afghanistan and meeting with the caretaker government officials. But the internal policies of the current government of Afghanistan, especially the restrictions imposed on women's work and education, have prevented the establishment of such relations between Afghanistan and the world.
"Girls cannot go to school. Universities are closed. Girls' schools are closed. Women are not allowed to work. Afghan people themselves are not happy with this situation. I even think many caretaker government members are against these decisions. No one will recognise us when we do not solve these problems," said Haji Obaidullah Sader Khail in his interview with TOlOnews. He also mentioned the roles women held in the UAE's government. "Now, in the world and the United Arab Emirates, half of the government employees are women. Women are half of humanity. Who will recognise you when schools and universities are closed, and women are not allowed to work? The United Arab Emirates is also an Islamic country, and Saudi Arabia is also an Islamic country, but which of these countries has closed girls' schools?"
According to Mr Sader Khail, the UAE hosts the largest Afghan business community in the diaspora. More than 300,000 Afghans are living and working in the UAE. "Now, the majority of Afghan businessmen living in the United Arab Emirates hope that the situation in Afghanistan will develop in such a way that the way for the establishment of extensive trade relations between this country and other countries of the world will be opened."
Although the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan called the current government a caretaker government and promised to remove the restrictions imposed on women according to Islamic orders, it is not clear when these measures will be taken and whether they can satisfy the international community and, specifically, the UAE to recognise it or not.
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