Muslim troops from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an Arab country, have been operating in Afghanistan as part of the United States-led coalition for five years.
Their role is mainly humanitarian, but the Emirati troops have been involved in full-scale military operations -- taking part in dangerous missions alongside US troops and, on occasion, fighting their way out of Taleban ambushes.
As fellow Muslims, the Emirati troops get a warm reception from Afghan villagers:We try to convince the people about the US, about British. They came here to give you peace.
UAE Maj Ghanem al-Mazroui
"At first I thought these were American soldiers and I wanted them to leave but when they said they were Muslims I knew they were our brothers," a young Afghan man says.The Emiratis are not the only Arab troops working with the Afghan coalition. Jordanian forces have been carrying out some base security duties.
The fact that an Arab Muslim army has been operating alongside Americans in Afghanistan for five years is a surprise. Until now, the Emirati deployment has been kept so secret that not even their own countrymen knew they were here. I'm glad the cat is out of the bag. Maybe we will see more Muslim assistance in the struggle against Islamic extremists.