Meeting between Mr. Katsuhito Asano, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Masoom Stanekzai, Advisor to the President of Afghanistan

February 13, 2007

On February 13, Mr. Katsuhito Asano, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, met with Mr. Masoom Stanekzai, Advisor to the President of Afghanistan, for about 40 minutes. The gist of the meeting is as follows.

1. Mr. Asano, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, said:

Afghanistan has many difficult problems such as terrorism, drugs and the need for the disbandment of the illegal armed groups (DIAG), but dealing with these security issues is essential for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Japan intends to extend as much support as possible to Afghanistan's efforts in dealing with such issues, including support through the DIAG and Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force operating in the Indian Ocean under the Anti-terrorism Special Measures Law.

2. Mr. Stanekzai, Advisor to the President of Afghanistan, said:

(1) I express my appreciation to Japan for its support so far. The reconstruction of Afghanistan started at the Tokyo Conference of January 2002, and the nation-building of Afghanistan so far is a result of cooperation from Japan. In the field of security, I appreciate Japan's support through the DDR (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of the former military combatants), the DIAG, and the supply activities of Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force in the Indian Ocean. Japan has made a contribution not only to Afghanistan but to the whole region, and I hope for its continued support.

(2) Security is the foremost issue for the Government of Afghanistan, and although its National Army and the police have been making efforts to rebuild security organizations, the Afghan Government would not have been able to reconstruct them without the DDR initiated by Japan. Although the DDR was completed in June 2006, many illegal armed groups remain in the country, and the Government of Afghanistan has been tackling the DIAG with firm determination, in response to the strong demand of its people.

(3) In the field of security, there has been some progress, such as the promotion of coordination among security organizations, the people and the international units. To further improve security, however, it will be important to respond to the situation with a comprehensive approach, such as strengthened local governments, establishment of legal control, progress in reform of security including the DIAG, and the creation of employment. Cooperation from Pakistan is also indispensable for regional stabilization. In this regard, I appreciate the important role which Japan has been playing.


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