KABUL, Afghanistan -- 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 Friday.
The wife, identified in Japanese media as Naoko Nakamura, arrived in the capital earlier Friday 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 on Saturday.
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 traveled 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 Taliban 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 on Saturday to honor 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 on Friday, the governor in eastern Khost province, Mohammad Alim Fedayye, named a square inside the provincial capital for Nakamura.
Also Friday, demonstrators protested outside the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul, accusing Pakistan's intelligence services of involvement in Nakamura's death. There was no evidence of the allegation. Pakistan and Afghanistan routinely exchange accusations.
Hundreds of social media posts also expressed sorrow and outrage over the attack. One post carried a drawing of the Japanese physician, with the words: “Sorry we couldn’t save you Nakamura.”