Nation-building is a long-term process that is strenuous, demanding, and requires consistency as much as serious commitment. Afghanistan is in dire need of such a commitment and the UAE has exemplified what needs to be done by its policy and approach towards that nation. For eight years, the UAE Armed Forces stationed in Afghanistan have been involved in numerous activities. The forces are engaged in tasks that span from clearing landmines to humanitarian work such as providing aid and medical services. Being the only military force from an Arab country, the task of the forces is immense as they work as part of coalition forces in Afghanistan to bring about stability and peace to a war-torn country.
The manner in which the UAE has carried out its mission is unquestionably impressive. There are six funded medical clinics, 11 schools, 38 mosques, a general public library, a hospital, and an accommodation for displaced families. In 2009, the UAE committed more than Dh1.26 billion in aid, which represents 14 per cent of its total foreign aid in 2009.
A vast sum of the donations have been allocated towards infrastructure, services and construction. In addition to the government's provisions, the people of the UAE have contributed $22 million for food, medicine, housing and shelter, and basic relief projects.
Yet what distinguishes the UAE's Armed Forces in Afghanistan is not limited to humanitarian efforts. These forces have also been involved with local leaders in setting up consultative councils to bring together the people in their fight against insurgents and to build their communities. And it is this holistic humanitarian approach that lends distinction to what the UAE is seeking to accomplish in Afghanistan.