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Taliban ask Japan envoy to reopen embassy in Afghanistan


A deputy prime minister of the Taliban’s interim government in Afghanistan called on Japan’s ambassador to reopen the country’s embassy in Kabul when the two met in the capital of the war-torn nation on Wednesday.

The request was made when Abdul Ghani Baradar met Ambassador Takashi Okada, the Taliban said. Japan temporarily closed its embassy in Kabul on Aug 15, the day the Taliban took effective control of the country as the United States prepared to withdraw its forces.

Japan evacuated its embassy staff from Afghanistan and moved diplomatic operations to the Qatari capital Doha.

The Taliban also said Okada conveyed Tokyo’s intention to reopen its embassy if safety is assured when he met Abdul Kabir, another deputy prime minister who is in charge of political affairs, on Tuesday.

A senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official said the government is considering an option of resuming the embassy’s functions with only local staff, but the timing of the resumption “needs to be coordinated with other countries.”

Tokyo has made no official reference to the issue so far, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno telling a news conference Thursday in Tokyo, “We have no specific plans at present.”

Regarding whether the Japanese government will recognize the Taliban government, Matsuno declined to comment, saying the situation in Afghanistan “remains fluid.”

The Japanese Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that Okada took a four-day trip to Kabul from Sunday to meet senior Taliban officials including Baradar.
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