Failed Japan mission in Afghanistan means help from China, Russia, and regionally

Failed Japan mission in Afghanistan means help from China, Russia, and regionally

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Japan, like other nations, was caught off guard by the speed of the Taliban take over in Afghanistan. Henceforth, with America and other nations evacuating tens of thousands of people, it was demoralizing that Japan could only evacuate one solitary Japanese national along with a handful of Afghan nationals.

Indeed, not only was the Foreign Ministry out of step but the Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi had no qualms with departing on a scheduled tour of the Middle East region on the day Kabul fell to the Taliban. Astonishingly, despite the seriousness of the situation, Motegi still continued with his tour despite Japanese nationals and Afghan nationals connected to helping Japan needing emergency evacuations.

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force was eventually sent to Kabul and the neighboring nation of Pakistan. However, by this time the situation on the ground had deteriorated. Thus, the lack of planning was an abject failure. After all, only one Japanese national was evacuated.

Japan is now forced to ask all regional nations to help at a higher level because of the brutal terrorist attack in Kabul by Islamic State (ISIS) that sped up the evacuation by other nations. Henceforth, Japan is requesting the support of China and the Russian Federation – and others nations. Therefore, despite the Russian Federation not sharing a border with Afghanistan, the armed forces of this nation have a military base in Tajikistan while maintaining important influence in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The Russian Federation, along with having friendly ties with the three Central Asian nations of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan who all share a border with Afghanistan, also can rely on a military base in Kyrgyzstan. Equally important, political elites in Moscow have excellent relations with China and Iran (also shares a border with Afghanistan) along with strengthening ties with Pakistan. Hence, it is natural for Japan to request the support of China and the Russian Federation – and other regional nations – including Pakistan because of the close relations between the Taliban and Pakistan.

China and the Russian Federation also appear to have certain leverages with the Taliban because both nations seem disposed to accept the changes on the ground.

NHK reports, “He (Motegi) said it’s important to work with China and Russia, which have a certain level of influence on Afghanistan.”

Overall, just like NATO powers are unhappy about the information shared by America under President Joe Biden surrounding the evacuation process, it seems that Japan was equally left out of the loop. However, while other nations had mechanisms to cope with the situation on the ground, the same didn’t apply to Japan who left everything too late because of the shoddy nature of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

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