Police: Attack On Nakamura May Have Been Planned

Police: Attack on Nakamura may have been planned

Police in Afghanistan suspect an armed group targeting foreigners carried out a planned attack that killed a Japanese doctor and aid worker in the eastern part of the country.

Tetsu Nakamura was fatally wounded when unidentified gunmen opened fire on his car in Jalalabad, in Nangarhar province, on Wednesday.

Five other people who were traveling with Nakamura, including the driver and bodyguards, were also killed.

Nakamura headed the nongovernmental organization Peshawar-kai, based in Fukuoka City, western Japan.

He had spent years in Afghanistan offering humanitarian aid and helping with reconstruction projects.

A witness at the scene told NHK that the attackers blocked and stopped Nakamura's vehicle with their passenger car. They then got out of the car and began shooting.

Reuters news agency quoted a witness as saying that one of the gunmen saw Nakamura raise his head and shouted, "The Japanese is still alive." This triggered another round of shooting.

Nakamura's body was reportedly transferred Wednesday evening from an airport in Jalalabad to the capital Kabul, from where it is expected to be flown back to Japan.

Nangarhar is a stronghold of Afghanistan's anti-government Taliban, but the group issued a statement denying involvement in the attack.

A branch of the Islamic State militant group has also been active in the region recently.

Last month, Afghan government and US forces launched a massive sweep of Islamic State militants there.

Local police say security forces have been aware that the Islamic State group could stage a terrorist attack in Jalalabad in retaliation for the operation.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement condemning what he described as a "callous act of terror."