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Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 14:56 UK

Aid worker killed in Afghanistan

Kazuya Ito, Japanese aid worker killed in Afghanistan (picture from April 2004)
Kazuya Ito had been working on an irrigation project

A Japanese aid worker who was kidnapped in Afghanistan earlier this week has been killed, Afghan officials say.

Police in the eastern province of Nangahar say they have recovered the body of Kazuya Ito, 31.

Mr Ito, an engineer, was kidnapped on Tuesday while inspecting an irrigation project, according to local officials.

The Afghan army and police launched a rescue mission but say they were able only to free two Afghan colleagues working with the Japanese man.

Attacks mount

Mr Ito had been working for a Japanese aid agency, Peshawar-kai.

Map

He had been shot several times.

He is the third Japanese citizen to be kidnapped and killed in Afghanistan in the last three years.

Two other Japanese abductees have also been killed in Iraq.

Japan does not have any combat troops in Afghanistan but it provides logistical support to US-led forces fighting in the country.

"The Japanese government's commitment to Afghan reconstruction and the war on terror will never change," said Japanese foreign ministry spokesman Kazuo Kodoma.

A BBC correspondent in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, says that although Mr Ito's death is the main news story in the country, his abduction has not been given the same high profile as it might have received in the past, probably because such incidents are not as shocking as they once were.

The latest killing comes as aid agencies say they are finding it too dangerous to work in many parts of Afghanistan.

Taleban gunmen shot dead three female international aid workers in Logar province earlier this month.


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