With little fanfare, the UAE Armed Forces have for years been making a positive contribution in Afghanistan. A new documentary celebrating that is very welcome.
Unseen mission of unsung heroes
Everyone knows that the US and UK and some other countries have had a robust combat presence in Afghanistan for almost a decade now. But the military presence of the UAE in that war-torn country has been a much-lower profile affair - until now.
A new documentary, to be shown on television this evening, explains the mission of the UAE Armed Forces during their time in Afghanistan. Despite the grim context, Mission: Winds of Goodness tells a positive story, even a happy one.
The 30-minute documentary was shown Monday night at the Ramadan majlis of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The screening, and the panel discussion which followed, demonstrated a high level of official encouragement for wider public view of the UAE's role in Afghanistan. Sheikhs and senior officers and officials were in attendance, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE.
Clearly, attention like this is good for the morale of the Armed Forces. Around the world soldiers chafe at the blandness of peacetime activities and training; a mission to a combat zone tests the mettle of any military force.
By extension, the whole country can take pride in knowing that its uniformed personnel have been able to take part in a just, well-executed military intervention, playing a useful role in an important alliance in the process.
This mission was not focused on fighting. To be sure, all of Afghanistan is a dangerous neighbourhood, and providing security has been an important part of the mission during the UAE's eight-year deployment there.
The documentary, by Emirati director Khalid Al Falasi, sheds light on the contribution this country has been able to make behind the screen of Allied security operations: humanitarian aid and improvements for remote communities. This work needs to be done, and it is good to know that the UAE is contributing in such a practical fashion.
Mission: Winds of Goodness will be broadcast on Abu Dhabi Al Emarat TV twice today, at 1am and again at 1.30pm.