Japanese doctor’s family to bring body home from Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The wife of a 73-year-old Japanese physician killed earlier this week in a roadside shooting in eastern Afghanistan wept softly as she stood by her husband’s coffin in a Kabul hospital yesterday.

The wife, identified in Japanese media as Naoko Nakamura, arrived in the capital earlier yesterday with her daughter and three of Dr. Tetsu Nakamura’s colleagues, including a childhood friend. They will take his body home to the city of Fukuoka today.

The killing of Nakamura, known as “Uncle Murad” to the villagers whose lives he helped change for the better, has shocked many Afghans across the country. Nakamura was gunned down along with five Afghans on Wednesday as they travelled to the Nangarhar provincial capital of Jalalabad.

The gunmen fled the scene and police say their investigation is still looking for those behind the attack. The Taleban have denied any connection to the slaying.

A Japanese flag was placed nearby Nakamura’s coffin, which was draped in a white cloth and covered with yellow flowers. Uniformed Afghan soldiers stood nearby as the family, accompanied by Japan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Mitsuji Suzuka, paid their final respects.

The Afghan government is expected to hold a memorial service today to honour Nakamura’s service to Afghanistan. He arrived in the country in 2008 and took the lead in building irrigation infrastructures in eastern Nangarhar province.

Earlier this year, President Ashraf Ghani awarded Nakamura honorary Afghan citizenship. Candlelit vigils have been held across Afghanistan condemning his killing and yesterday, the governor in eastern Khost province, Mohammad Alim Fedayye, named a square inside the provincial capital for Nakamura.