A Japanese nongovernmental organization had agreed with Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime to set up a demilitarized zone in the country before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, it was learned Saturday.

The Association of Medical Doctors of Asia, based in Okayama Prefecture, agreed on the plan to protect cultural properties and support medical assistance activities in the war-torn country. The plan failed to materialize because the Taliban regime collapsed after the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan in response to the terror attacks.

AMDA, which has been providing medical assistance in Afghanistan, also had ties with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.

The NGO separately invited then Northern Alliance Vice Foreign Minister Abdullar Abdullar, currently foreign minister of the Afghan government, and Mola Mohammad Abas, then minister of public health for the Taliban, to visit Okayama in 1999.

Abas visited Japan again in April last year and signed an agreement with AMDA on international humanitarian assistance activities in Afghanistan.

At that time, Abas described the situation in Afghanistan in the days before Sept. 11, saying that members of the al-Qaeda network were becoming militant and increasing their influence among the Taliban, according to AMDA President Hidetoshi Matono.

While AMDA still has close ties with Abdullar, the whereabouts of Abas are unknown.

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