x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE forces donate books to Kabul University

700 books donated to Kabul University in association with Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research.

DUBAI // A donation of books by UAE forces to a university in Afghanistan underscores a tradition of Emirati support for the war-torn nation that has up until now included US$1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) in government aid.

About 700 books were gifted to Kabul University, the state news agency WAM reported this week. The donation included English and Arabic titles published by the Government think tank, the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research.

The centre publishes books on current issues, from the labour market to energy security to international politics.

The chancellor of Kabul University, Hamidullah Amin, "thanked the UAE for its humanitarian and developmental role in Afghanistan", WAM said.

The UAE began contributing troops to coalition efforts in Afghanistan in 2008, according to Nato. "The UAE was among the first Muslim countries to provide financial, technical and military support to Afghanistan," Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said at a conference last November.

In January, Emirati doctors treated Afghan patients at a hospital at the main Bagram airfield near Kabul, according to Nato. Last year, Emirati Special Forces - along with their US, French, Canadian and Jordanian counterparts - mentored Afghans training to become commandos.

The UAE is one of a handful of Arab or Muslim nations participating in the 48-nation coalition. Others include Turkey, with 1,800 troops, Azerbaijan with 94 and Malaysia with 30.

"Being a Muslim country, the UAE has a lot of credibility in dealing with the Afghan people, and it enjoys a lot of respect there, and its participation in reconstruction, building, education, services, aid and peacekeeping operations has made it closer to the Afghans," the Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in 2009 after meeting with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Brussels.

According to Mr Gargash, since 2002 the UAE has donated Dh28m to improving the health sector, Dh26m to education and Dh16m for irrigation projects.

chuang@thenational.ae