JICA pulls Afghanistan aid workers amid uptick in attacks

Kyodo

The Japan International Cooperation Agency is substantially reducing the number of Japanese aid workers in Afghanistan in response to frequent terrorist attacks, a JICA official said Monday.

“The personnel reduction represents our flexible response to security situation changes,” said Hiroaki Takashima, who heads a JICA office in Kabul. “But we will continue our operations.”

The temporary reduction could affect Afghan reconstruction efforts. JICA workers have been supporting infrastructure and agriculture development in the war-torn country via $4.8 billion of Japanese aid programs since 2001.

At its peak, JICA had around 30 staff in Afghanistan. Despite the unspecified reduction, the Afghan people will continue to benefit from Japanese development projects in the immediate future.

Since Taliban and other anti-government rebels have stepped up attacks in Afghanistan, the Japanese government has recommended that its citizens, including aid workers, leave. No other countries have taken such action.