Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces in al Mahfad district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on February 18. AQAP militants attacked al Hizam Security Forces three other times in February in an attempt to compel security forces to withdraw from al Mahfad. The forces majorly backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were able to dispel the militants and secure the location with no casualties.
The UAE has been a very instrumental partner in Yemen especially in ensuring that civil war is ended and the gains made are stable. UAE military strategy has been to form three security forces, including the Security Belt Forces (also referred to as Al-Hizam Brigades) largely deployed in southwest Yemen; the Hadrami Elite Forces deployed in the governorate of the Hadramawt, and the Shabwani Elite Forces deployed to southern Shabwa. Majority of the forces are recruited from the tribes in the governorates they are fighting in to increase the human intelligence of the military battlefield.