Japan's Response to Taliban's Edict to Destroy Statues

March 7, 2001

  1. Japan expressed its deepest concern over the edict issued by the Taliban's leader to destroy all statues in Afghanistan, and has been strongly urging those concerned to revoke the edict through its embassy in Pakistan.

  2. As part of its efforts, the Government of Japan on March 7 commissioned a group of representatives of the three ruling parties who left for Afghanistan to convey a letter addressed to Mr. Mutawakil, who serves as the Taliban's "Foreign Minister", from Foreign Minister Yohei Kono, urging the Taliban to review the edict.

  3. On March 7, Mr. Kono also sent letters to the Foreign Ministers of eight countries mainly in the Gulf region (Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen) expressing the deepest concern of Japan about the issue and requesting that all efforts should be made to urge the Taliban to review the edict.

  4. The Government of Japan urges the Taliban to respond to Japan's request by reviewing the edict and taking proper measures for the preservation of cultural treasures. Japan also urges the Taliban and the other conflicting parties in Afghanistan to stop fighting and resume direct talks aimed at peace as soon as possible.

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