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Fighting Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and extremist groups in Yemen's southern regions has been a matter of national security for the United Arab Emirates. However, increasingly, its counterterrorism operations deal not only with the security of its forces in Yemen – where the Special Forces of the UAE Presidential Guard have been deployed since May 2015 – but also with its strategy to increase its geopolitical influence in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, including protecting energy hubs and maritime infrastructures.In August 2017, the UAE notably helped retake AQAP's Shabwa fiefdoms of Azzan and Ataq.Some of these commercial ports, like Berbera, have since been turned into UAE naval outposts.To maintain these entrenched interests, the UAE is continuing to use its special forces in counterterrorism operations despite having already won significant victories over AQAP.
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