CAIRO (AP) — A senior U.S. official says the United Arab Emirates paid money to tribal leaders in Yemen to rout al-Qaida from its strongholds.
Wednesday's remarks followed an Associated Press investigation outlining how Emirati forces cut secret deals with the militants to get them to abandon territory.
The official says money "has exchanged hands" and that it often went to "sheikhs in areas that have collaborated or allowed al-Qaida to exist."
He didn't elaborate on how much was paid, but says the Emiratis' payments to tribal sheikhs allowed them to "ally themselves to the Emiratis."
He asked rhetorically whether the sheikhs would "turn back to al-Qaida at some point in the future" and shrugged his shoulders.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to reporters.