Japan to host Afghan confab

Kyodo News

Japan plans to host a high-level meeting in November for countries eager to establish peace in Afghanistan, government and ruling bloc sources said Saturday.

The plan, which is in the final phase of planning, could lay the groundwork for the Democratic Party of Japan-led government to end the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s refueling mission in the Indian Ocean in January.

Participants, likely including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the United States and the European Union, are expected to discuss security measures, economic support and humanitarian reconstruction support aimed at stabilizing the country, the sources said.

The chairman is likely to be former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, “for his important efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts,” they said.

The pillar of the DPJ’s Afghan peace proposal is to urge both the Taliban and a group of countries including the United States to halt fighting, withdraw their forces and deploy a noncombat international ceasefire monitoring mission made up of personnel from Japan and other countries.