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UAE Breaks Relations with Taleban - 2001-09-22

The United Arab Emirates has broken relations with the Taleban government in Afghanistan. Taleban officials have so far refused to comment.

A spokesman at the UAE foreign ministry, quoted by the Emirates news agency, said the decision to cut ties with the Taleban was made after the Emirates tried unsuccessfully to get Taleban authorities to comply with a U.N. Security Council Resolution to surrender alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden.

The Saudi fugitive is accused of being the mastermind behind the attacks that killed more than 6,000 people in the United States.

The Emirates official is quoted as saying, "The United Arab Emirates does not believe that it is possible to maintain diplomatic ties with a government that refuses to respond to the clear will of the international community."

The UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taleban. The other two are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Most countries and the United Nations recognize the government-in-exile of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, whose allies in the Northern Alliance control a small part of Afghanistan.

Pakistan's foreign mnistry spokesman Riaz Mohammed Khan says Islamabad says values its diplomatic ties with the Taleban, and they serve a useful purpose. "This embassy has served as a useful window for the Taleban with the rest of the world for the international community to interact with the Taleban who control not just Kabul, but most of Afghanistan," Mr. Khan said.

Mr. Khan says because of current tensions in the region, Islamabad has reduced its staff at its embassy in Kabul, but it will remain open for the foreseeable future.

The decision by the UAE to cut diplomatic ties with the Taleban comes as the largest military buildup since the 1991 Gulf War is taking shape in the region. A senior team of U.S. officials is expected to arrive in the Pakistani capital within days to consult with Pakistani officials about how the military buildup will proceed.