Japan to ask Taliban to help evacuate Afghans

The Japanese government says it intends to ask the Taliban for cooperation in evacuating people from Afghanistan.

Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo ordered on Tuesday an end to the mission to evacuate Japanese nationals and others from Afghanistan, due to worsening security conditions there. The US military completed its withdrawal from the country the same day.

Kishi has decided to recall Self-Defense Forces aircraft that had been sent for the mission. The aircraft ferried one Japanese woman and 14 Afghans to Islamabad in neighboring Pakistan.

Foreign ministry officials praised the mission for achieving its most important goal of evacuating a Japanese national.

On the other hand, they expressed disappointment over the failure to evacuate other Afghan staff members working for Japan's embassy and international organizations.

The Japanese government says more than 500 Afghans hoping to flee Afghanistan have been left in the country. It stresses that it will continue efforts to help them. But there are no prospects of a safe evacuation as the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable.

The government will carefully monitor conditions to see whether they improve.

It is planning to transfer embassy functions to Qatar, where the Taliban's political office is situated, and negotiate with the group to gain cooperation from the members.