English | 日本語
Afghan vice president says SDF dispatch up to Japan
Tokyo, June 22, 2007 (Kyodo News): Visiting Afghan Vice President Karim Khalili called for broad Japanese support Friday to help rebuild the war-torn country, without ruling out the dispatch of Japan's Self-Defense Forces as one means of such support.
"Whether to dispatch the SDF or not is what Japanese people should decide on, but our friend Japan's support is very important for Afghanistan's reconstruction, development, disbandment of illegal armed groups, and other areas," the 57-year-old vice president told a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.
"We would very much like to receive support," he added.
Khalili stressed that the country has made improvements since the fall of the Taliban leadership in 2001, but called for the international community to cooperate in preventing terrorists from being supported by outside countries and to strengthen control of drugs connected to boosting terrorist activities.
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force has been conducting refueling operations for warships from the United States and other coalition forces in the Indian Ocean in support of the U.S.-led antiterrorism campaign in Afghanistan since December 2001 under the special antiterrorism measures law.
But dispatching the SDF to Afghanistan has been a controversial issue under the current constraints of Japan's pacifist Constitution.
Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma told reporters in May that the government will study enacting a law to send the SDF to Afghanistan to provide support to facilitate reconstruction, but the top government spokesman Yasuhisa Shiozaki has swiftly denied any such intention.
In Japan, Khalili attended an international conference on stabilizing Afghanistan on Thursday. He also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the same day and was promised continuing contributions from Japan, such as the SDF's refueling support for ships as well as foreign aid.