Japan's aid agency moving Japanese workers out of Afghanistan

The Japan International Cooperation Agency is temporarily relocating most Japanese aid workers from Afghanistan in response to frequent terrorist attacks, a JICA official said Monday.

The temporary reduction from the recent peak of around 30 could affect Afghan reconstruction as JICA workers have been engaged in infrastructure and agriculture development support work under Japanese aid worth $4.8 billion since 2001.

"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."

As Taliban and other antigovernment rebels have stepped up their attacks in Afghanistan, the Japanese government has recommended that Japanese citizens including aid workers leave the country. Countries other than Japan have not taken such action.