Dispatch of Japan’s Civilian Assistance Team to the Chaghcharan PRT in Afghanistan

April 17, 2009

  1. As a part of our efforts to reinforce Japan’s development assistance activities in rural areas of Afghanistan, we announced on January 9th that Japan would dispatch a civilian assistance team for development assistance coordination composed of Foreign Ministry officers to the Lithuanian-led Chaghcharan PRT located in the Central-western part of Afghanistan.
  2. Since the January announcement, we have been preparing for the dispatch. The preparation is now nearly complete, and 4 Foreign Ministry officers are scheduled to begin their activities in Afghanistan from May to June.
  3. The necessity of strengthening assistance to Afghanistan is currently stressed in the international community. For example, the U.S. Obama administration recently announced a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan which calls for a significant increase of civilian resources and an enhanced civilian-military cooperation, taking an integrated approach on security, governance reinforcement and civilian assistance.  Furthermore, the Ministerial-level International Conference on Afghanistan was held in the Hague on March 31. Today, the Pakistan Donors Conference and Friends of Democratic Pakistan Group Ministerial Meeting will be held in Japan, with a view to emphasizing the importance of regional integrity including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. Through these conferences, each country is currently trying to enhance their assistance to Afghanistan in a wide range of fields.
  4. The dispatch of our civilian assistance team to the Chaghcharan PRT is a new attempt for Japan in a rural area where adequate assistance has not necessary been provided. The security situation in Ghor Province where the Chaghcharan PRT is located is considered to be relatively stable from Afghan-standards. We understand that the PRT has good cooperative relations with the local residents and NGO personnel. On the other hand, we recognize that Ghor Province is one of the most underdeveloped areas in Afghanistan. Through the dispatch of our civilian assistance team and cooperation with the lead country, Lithuania, we hope to better meet the local needs, thereby improving the local standard of living.