Japan is sending 10 medical personnel to Afghanistan to teach the Afghan Army medical procedures. This is the first dispatch of Japanese military to Afghanistan in nine years of war, with the exception of military attaches at the Japanese embassy.

The team would not be placed under the command of the International Security Assistance Force to avoid criticism that it could be integrated with ISAF’s military activity, which would contravene Japan’s pacifist Constitution, the sources said.

The team will provide training and guidance to the Afghan army’s medical staff at health education facilities in Kabul for six months. Extending the dispatch period and expanding the team will be discussed later after examining developments in the area, according to the sources. (Link)

I’m not sure what advantage there would be in integrating with ISAF, but I imagine it would be useful if the Japanese contingent were attacked. What are the odds that the Taliban, which has attacked fortified positions in Kabul, will go after a bunch of unarmed doctors from a pacifist country that gives a billion dollars to the Karzai government? Rather high, I think.

Ten medics and nurses for six months…that’s quite a step backward from Koizumi’s contribution to the Iraq effort, and not really a good trade for the Indian Ocean refueling mission that Hatoyama canned earlier this year.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch