Psychiatrist who treated Taliban fighters killed in northern Afghanistan; doctors raise security concerns

Dr. Alem Naderi, a prominent Afghan psychiatrist and neurologist, has been killed in Afghanistan, as Taliban officials on Friday confirmed finding his body

Nov 20, 2021
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Dr Nader Alemi, whose hospital has treated thousands of Afghans, including Taliban fighters, since it opened in 2004. Photograph: Magda Rakita/BAAG

Dr. Alem Naderi, a prominent Afghan psychiatrist and neurologist, has been killed in Afghanistan, as Taliban officials on Friday confirmed finding his body. He was abducted by unknown men almost two months ago in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.  Famous for treating thousands of people, including Taliban fighters in the nineties, he was the head of the Mental Health Department in the provincial government hospital. 

In a country that has been in a state of conflict for almost four decades, with the mental health of its citizens being a major health issue, he founded the first private psychiatrist hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif. 

Naderi, 66,  had received several threats prior to his abduction, a crime that increased multifold amid the collapsing economy. 

Abductors had demanded $800,000 in ransom, Ahmed Royen, Naderi’s son confirmed to TOLOnews. After negotiation, the family paid $350,000 to abductors for his release but to no avail. He had already been suffering from many health complications, including diabetes. 

In the north, where Dari is the most commonly spoken language, Naderi was the only Pashto-speaking psychiatrist, something that made him famous among the Taliban fighters who mostly speak the same language, dominant in the southern part. 

Taliban officials said an investigation was going on in the case. The Taliban’s Interior Ministry confirmed that eight people have been arrested in the case. 

Following his abduction and subsequent killing, doctors have raised concern over their security. Already the health sector in Afghanistan is collapsing amid the shortage of medicines and lack of payments to health workers. This added security concern will only worsen their problems at a time when their need could not be greater. 

(SAM)