Airport attack forces Japan to suspend evacuation

NHK has learned that Japan had to give up on taking Japanese and Afghan evacuees to Kabul's international airport on Thursday due to the deadly bombings.

The government had Self-Defense Force transport aircraft in Pakistan ready to evacuate Japanese expats and Afghans who have worked at the embassy or international organizations.

But the worsening security situation is preventing the SDF from carrying out the mission.

NHK has learned that several hundred people were heading to the airport on board more than 20 buses.

But they were forced to stay away because of the bombings, which are blamed on the regional arm of Islamic State militants.
Government sources say Japan has secured enough slots at the airport to airlift all Japan-related evacuees.

But taking them to the airport is difficult because of Taliban checkpoints and crowds of local people gathered at the checkpoints and near the airport.

The Japanese government has indicated that the evacuation mission may end on Friday, because of the August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of US troops.

Japan is seeking support from Afghanistan's neighbors that have ties with the Taliban to help carry out the mission.