Japan to send military aircraft to repatriate citizens from Afghanistan


TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will send a military aircraft to Afghanistan on Monday to bring back its citizens, the top government spokesman said, amid uncertainty in the country after the hardline Islamist Taliban seized power.

More military transport planes are expected to be sent to Afghanistan to repatriate not only Japanese citizens but also Afghans working at the Japanese embassy or with Japanese missions, Katsunobu Kato, chief cabinet secretary, told a news conference.

“This transportation is an urgent humanitarian measure to evacuate our nationals in such an exceptional situation,” Kato said.

Numerous countries have been sending aircraft to bring back their citizens and some Afghans after the United States and other foreign countries including Britain brought in several thousand troops to manage the evacuations.

Kato did not say how many people Japan was planning to evacuate.

Japan closed its Afghan embassy and evacuated the last 12 personnel but “a small number” of Japanese nationals are still in Afghanistan, officials said earlier.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Robert Birsel)

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