UAE ambassador dies of wounds from Afghanistan bombing
The UAE's ambassador to Afghanistan died on Wednesday of wounds sustained in a 10 January bombing in Kandahar, according to state media.
Juma Mohammed Abdullah al-Kaabi's death was confirmed by the UAE's official WAM news agency who described the ambassador as a "martyr" in a blast which killed five other Emirati officials.
The ambassador was leading a UAE delegation to the provincial governor's office in the southern city when the bomber struck, killing 12 people instantly. Both he and governor Humayun Azizi suffered serious burns.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was "deeply saddened" by the envoy's death, his office said.
"The UAE ambassador and his colleagues paid the ultimate sacrifice in promoting peace and development in Afghanistan to be remembered forever," it said in a statement.
"The president expresses his condolences and sympathies to the family of the late ambassador as well as to the government and the people of United Arab Emirates."
The bombing was one of multiple attacks that struck three Afghan cities on 10 January, killing 57 people.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for twin bombs that hit a parliamentary annexe in Kabul and a suicide bombing in Lashkar Gah, capital of restive Helmand province. However, it did not claim the Kandahar attack.
Provincial police chief Abdul Raziq blamed the Kandahar bombing on the Haqqani network, a group separate from, but allied, with the Taliban.
The UAE has historically had good relations with the Taliban and was among three governments that recognised the Taliban administration that ruled in Kabul between 1996 and 2001.
Security in Afghanistan has become increasingly precarious as US-backed forces struggle to combat a resilient Taliban insurgency as well as al-Qaeda and Islamic State group militants.
Last week, a search was launched to find two Red Cross workers that were kidnapped after IS militants ambushed a convoy and left six workers dead.
The attack underscores how aid workers in Afghanistan have increasingly become casualties of a surge in militant violence in recent years, prompting the ICRC, which has been working in Afghanistan for three decades, announcing a hold to nationwide operations.