The Latest: Japan to relocate its Kabul embassy to Qatar
TOKYO — Japan’s top diplomat says his country has temporarily moved its embassy from Afghanistan to Turkey but now plans to relocate it to Qatar, where the Taliban have an office. The Gulf Arab country is also expected to play an important political role in what comes next for Afghanistan.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi earlier this month visited the Middle East. He told reporters on Tuesday that his talks with leaders in the region suggest that Doha, the capital of Qatar, will carry growing political importance.
“I believe various forms of communication will take place,” Motegi said.
Japanese nationals at the embassy in Kabul were among the first to be evacuated from Afghanistan. Most of them were airlifted by the British military before Tokyo dispatched its Self-Defense Force aircraft last week as the security outside the Kabul airport worsened.
Last Thursday and Friday, Japan evacuated only one Japanese citizen, along with 14 Afghan people at the request of U.S. military, to Pakistan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that safe evacuations of the rest of Japanese nationals and Afghans who worked for the Japanese Embassy and aid organization remain a top priority.
MORE ON AFGHANISTAN:
— Taliban control now-quiet Kabul airport after US withdrawal
— In Kabul, some fear economic collapse more than Taliban fist
— Analysis: War is over but not Biden’s Afghanistan challenges
— As US military leaves Kabul, many Americans, Afghans remain
— Last troops exit Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war
— Qatar emerges as key player in Afghanistan after US pullout
— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
KABUL, Afghanistan — Even as the U.S. and its NATO allies left Afghanistan, some of the gains of the last 20 years were on display as boys and girls rushed to school early on Tuesday.
Masooda was hurrying to get to her fifth grade class at a private school. “I’m not afraid of the Taliban,” she said. “Why should I be?”
Students had been called back to school four days ago. The Taliban have said students will be segregated by sex, but in many schools that was already the practice, except for the early grades.
TOKYO — Afghan athlete Hossain Rasouli finally got his chance on Tuesday to participate in the Paralympics.
Rasouli and teammate Zakia Khudadadi got to Tokyo on Saturday after being evacuated from Kabul. They arrived a week late, and since then the two-person team have been sequestered in the Paralympic Village for privacy and safety reasons.
They have also declined to speak to the media, before or after events.
Rasouli is primarily a sprinter but arrived too late for his event. So he tried the long jump in the T47 class, his only event at these Games, and finished last in the 13-man competition.
Khudadadi is set to become the first female Afghan athlete to compete in the Paralympics since 2004. She will challenge in the women’s 44-49-kilogram weight category in taekwondo on Thursday.
The Afghan athletes were met in Tokyo at the Paralympic Village on the weekend by IPC president Andrew Parsons.
Their arrival came less than two weeks after the IPC was informed the Afghan team could not travel to Tokyo, a move, Parsons said, “that broke the hearts of all involved in the Paralympic movement and left both athletes devastated.”
Parsons said that announcement started a “major global operation that led to their safe evacuation from Afghanistan” and arrival in Japan via France.