12/05/2019, 10.28
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Japan mourns Tetsu Nakamura, the doctor who helped the Afghans

The man had worked in Afghanistan for over a decade and carried out water projects in rural areas. Last April, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani granted him honorary citizenship. Hundreds of Afghans publish photographs of Nakamura, condemning the killing and stressing how respected the Japanese doctor was.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - All of Japan is appalled by the brutal murder of Tetsu Nakamura (photo 1,2), a doctor and aid worker who in recent years had dedicated his life to assisting some of Afghanistan's poorest populations. Nakamura, 73, fell victim to an ambush in the eastern province of Nangarhar yesterday morning. Five Afghans were also killed in the ambush: the three bodyguards, the driver and a passenger.

Shortly after the attack, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave voice to the pain of fellow citizens. "As a doctor, Mr. Nakamura has made a great contribution in the field of medical assistance in Afghanistan, "he told reporters. The Prime Minister then pointed out that Nakamura risked his life every day "in a dangerous and intense region". The head secretary of the government, Yoshihide Suga, this morning says that Japan "firmly condemns the vile attack, which will not be forgiven".

The Taliban, who along with related groups of the Islamic State operate throughout the province, denied any involvement in the ambush. Their spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, declares that the rebel group "has no connection" with the shooting; does not consider the Japanese humanitarian organization a target in the holy war that the Taliban are undertaking to create an Islamic emirate.

Nakamura had been working in Nangarhar province for over a decade and was carrying out water projects in rural areas. These had earned him the nickname "Uncle Murad" for his services to the population. Last April, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani granted him honorary citizenship.

The doctor died from his injuries shortly after gunmen opened fire on his car. According to the spokesman of the provincial governor, Attaullah Khogyani, Nakamura was heading for the provincial capital, Jalalabad, when the attack took place (photo 3). A surgical operation was needed at a local medical facility: the man died during the air transport to the Bagram hospital, in the capital Kabul.

Nangarhar Nakamura was the head of the Japanese charity, Peace Medical Service, since 2008. He arrived in Afghanistan after a Japanese colleague, Kazuya Ito, was kidnapped and killed. Nakamura is credited with having changed a vast tract in the Nangarhar desert, known as Gamber, into lush forests and wheat fields.

President Ghani's spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, yesterday condemned his murder, calling it " heinous act and a cowardly attack on one of Afghanistan's greatest friends." "Dr. Nakamura dedicated all his life to change the lives of Afghans, worked on water management, dams and improvement of traditional agriculture in Afghanistan," Sediqqi added.

Even the governor of Nangarhar, Shah Mahmood Meyakhail, expressed his condolences, declaring that the population of the province is sad and remains grateful for the services that the Japanese doctor has provided for over a decade. Hundreds of Afghans have published photographs of Nakamura on their social pages, condemning the killing and underlining how much the Japanese doctor was respected (photo 4).

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