A portrait in Afghanistan honoring a Japanese doctor who contributed for many years to the country's reconstruction, has been erased and replaced with words apparently praising Taliban rule.
An NHK crew confirmed on Sunday that the mural of Nakamura Tetsu painted on a wall in Kabul, had been whitewashed.
The original painting was created in his memory by local civil group members and others. Nakamura was fatally shot in December 2019 by an armed group while traveling by car in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad.
The mural featured Nakamura's profile, plum blossoms and a poem dedicated to him against the backdrop of the Japanese national flag.
His face and the poem were painted over in white and a slogan was written in its place that congratulates the people of Afghanistan on the country's "independence."
Also scrawled on nearby walls were the words "our nation has defeated America. End of occupation and start of independence."
It remains unknown who defaced the original artwork. But it is believed that Taliban members or their supporters may be responsible.
Taliban militants demolished two world-famous Bamiyan Buddha statues in 2001, when they were effectively in control of most of the nation. They said at the time that idol worship and portraits are against the teachings of Islam.