Three Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (SDF) aircraft are nestled near Afghanistan in an undisclosed country after flying from Japan on Monday to await the go-ahead from American forces in Afghanistan.
They are on an extraction mission to remove Japanese nationals and local staff of the Japanese embassy in Afghanistan amidst the deteriorating situation. A diplomatic source described them as a C-2 transport plane and two C-130s.
According to Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, the deployment is planned to last until the end of the month, coinciding with the US military pullout from Afghanistan.
This is the first time the SDF has evacuated Japanese foreign nationals from a country, according to the source at the Defense Ministry.
After receiving the prompt from US personnel in Afghanistan, the C-130’s will make roundtrips for extraction of their nationals from the airport in Kabul. The dire situation reported at the airport poses a security risk.
The C-2 plane carries hundreds of personnel from the Ground and Air Self-Defense Forces, as well as equipment and supplies. The Defense Ministry said most of the staff will be based in the nearby country.
Top government spokesman Cabinet Secretary-General Katsunobu Kato explained that under international law, the Japanese Self-Defense Force typically cannot deploy within another country without approval from that country.
He explained that this instance is different and will not pose a problem to international law, as it is an emergency and only for evacuating Japanese nationals.
Kato also stated that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will join a Group of Seven online summit to discuss Afghanistan on Tuesday.