August 8, 2020

The founder of a Japanese NGO dies in an attack in Afghanistan

The founder of the NGO Peshawar-kai & PMS (Japanese Medical Service of Peace) for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tetsu Nakamura, died Wednesday with his five companions in an attack on the convoy in which he was traveling in the unstable province of Nangarhar, in eastern Afghan.

The attack on the vehicles of the NGO, including the one circulated by the Japanese doctor Nakamura, occurred around 8.00 (3.30 GMT) in the provincial capital, Jalalabad, the spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar, Attaullah Khogyanai, told Efe.

"In the attack five people died and Nakamura was injured," Khogyanai said at first.

However, shortly thereafter, the spokesman reported on his official Twitter account that "unfortunately, Dr. Nakamura lost his life due to his injuries," while the Afghan authorities tried to transfer him to a hospital in Kabul.

Among the dead are also three bodyguards and a driver of the organization, said the spokesman, who said he did not know the identity of another of the victims.

The Nangarhar Police spokesman, Sayed Khan, assured Efe for his part that they have initiated an investigation into the attack and that they will provide new details as soon as the investigations are concluded.

Dr. Nakamura arrived in Pakistan in 1984 to work in a hospital in the northern city of Peshawar, near the border with Afghanistan, two years later he began providing medical assistance to Afghan refugees and, in 1991, opened his first clinic in a remote town of Nangarhar, according to the NGO website.

The Japanese doctor was a friend of the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, who just a few weeks ago had thanked him for his work and granted him Afghan citizenship for his important help in water management and agricultural development in the Asian nation.

"The Afghan government strongly condemns the heinous and cowardly attack against Afghanistan's best friend, Dr. Nakamura, who dedicated his life to changing the lives of Afghans, working on water management, reservoirs and improving agriculture," The spokesman of the Presidential Palace, Sediq Sediqqi, posted on Twitter.

No insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in a province where both the Taliban and the Islamic State jihadist group (IS) are active.

The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, distanced himself from what happened.

"The attack on the Japanese chief of the PMS organization has nothing to do with the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate (as they call themselves the Taliban). Charitable organizations enjoy good relations with the Islamic Emirate and none of them is aimed at the mujahideen, "he said on Twitter.

In 2008 a Japanese NGO cooperative was first kidnapped and then also killed in Nangarhar province.

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