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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 23:07 GMT
Afghan becomes open heart surgeon
Surgeons operate on a child at the French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul, 12 March 2008
French surgeons have been training their Afghan counterparts
An Afghan doctor has qualified as his war-torn country's first-ever open heart surgeon.

Dr Hashmatullah Nawabi was trained by French surgeons at the French Medical Institute for Children in Kabul.

To mark the occasion, Dr Nawabi carried out a relatively simple closed heart operation in front of the media.

The doctor, who had previously trained in the Soviet Union and worked in Germany, has been deemed capable of performing complex operations alone.

French doctors performed the first open heart surgery in war-torn Afghanistan in 2006.

The country did not previously have the technology to conduct such surgery.

Meanwhile, several hundred doctors and medical workers in the western Afghan province of Herat called off a strike on Wednesday.

They had been demanding better security after a rise in recent attacks - including kidnappings - on staff and their families.

The strike had severely affected medical services in the area, but was stopped after negotiations with a team sent to Herat by President Hamid Karzai.

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