United Arab Emirates cuts ties with Taliban

United Arab Emirates cuts ties with Taliban; orders embassy closed

One of the three remaining countries in the world to officially recognize Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia has cut diplomatic relations with the regime.

The United Arab Emirates made the announcement Saturday, days after it said it was reviewing its relationship with the Taliban.

The state-run news agency, Emirates News Agency, said representatives from the Emirates tried to convince the Taliban to hand over the man suspected of masterminding the terrorist attacks on the United States, Osama bin Laden.

"Regrettably, the Taliban refused to respond positively to the efforts by the UAE and other countries," the agency quoted a government official as saying.

Reports say UAE officials have also ordered the Taliban to close their embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are now the only two countries to recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan.

Most countries recognize the government-in-exile of President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who controls only five per cent of the country.

Turkey, Pakistan increases Afghanistan's isolation

Elsewhere on the diplomatic front, Turkey has granted the U.S. the right to use its airspace and airbases for transport of U.S. aircraft that may be used to strike terrorist training camps.

Pakistan is not cutting ties with Afghanistan, but has decided to cut back staff at its embassy in Kabul, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Riaz Mohammed Khan.

"We are maintaining a skeleton staff in Kabul. Our ambassador had returned to Pakistan about two months ago," Khan said. "After the 11th of September, as is normal in such situations, we had decided to reduce our presence in Kabul."

Pakistan has also increased the number of troops along its border with Afghanistan, where hundreds of Afghan refugees are camped out, waiting to find a safe haven from famine, drought and possible military strikes.

They're separated from Pakistan by hastily constructed barbed wire fences to prevent entry.

Pakistan is rushing humanitarian aid to the borders, but only those who make it inside can have access to the supplies.