Taliban invite Japan for reconstruction of Afghanistan

by Sami Burgaz
Group’s spokesperson Suhail Shaheen says Taliban hope Japan to reopen its Kabul Embassy ‘soon’.

ANKARA (AA) – The Taliban invited Japan for the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the group said it wants “good relations” between Kabul and Tokyo, according to local media on Tuesday.

“We want Japan to take part in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. And we are intending to have a good relation with them,” Suhail Shaheen, the spokesperson of Taliban, told Tokyo-based Kyodo News in an interview.

The Taliban seek Japanese “cooperation in various fields” in Afghanistan, said Shaheen.

Japan is one of the major assistance providers to war-torn Afghanistan that is witnessing a political transformation after the Taliban regained control over the country after fighting the US-led foreign forces for the past two decades.

Tokyo has contributed over $6 billion to reconstruction, education, agriculture, health care, and other aid programs to the country since 2001.

However, Japan closed its embassy in Kabul on Aug. 15 and is currently in the process of evacuating its staff along with local employees.

The Taliban spokesperson said he hopes Japan “will reopen its embassy in Afghanistan soon.”

Shaheen reiterated amnesty to all those who earlier worked for the West-backed Kabul regime led by former President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country before the Taliban entered the capital.

“We, all Afghans, should come together for the rebuilding (of) our country and rehabilitation. No one is targeted as supporters of invaders and collaborators of US (and others),” Shaheen asserted.

On Monday, the Taliban invited South Korea to “mutually benefit” from the war-torn country’s untapped mineral fields as the group seeks to strengthen economic ties with the East Asian nation reputed for its electronics industry.

“Afghanistan is replete with untapped mineral resources. … Korea as a leading world manufacturer of electronics can work with our country based on mutual interests, where we can also serve as an economic corridor connecting South and Central Asian countries,” Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a member of the Taliban’s Cultural Commission, said in an interview with South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Earlier, the Taliban also invited Chinese investments into the country.

In December 2019, renowned Japanese physician Tetsu Nakamura — also the 2003 recipient of the Philippines’ Ramon Magsaysay Award — was killed by unknown armed men in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar.

Shaheen, who has become the face of the Taliban’s public relations in English media, added: “The group will acknowledge media freedom and foreign media will be able to report from Kabul or anywhere else in Afghanistan.”

“We (are) committed to media and freedom of the press,” he stressed.


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