Women's rights activist shot dead in Afghanistan

Featured - December 11th, 2012

Two unknown men gunned down Afghan women’s affairs official and senior women’s rights activist Najia Seddiqi on Monday, the latest attack on women’s rights advocates in the country.

Ms. Seddiqi was heading to her office in eastern Laghman province when two assailants riding a motorbike shot her to death. The incident comes less than six months after Hanifa Safi, Seddiqi’s predecessor, was killed when an improvised bomb exploded under her car.

The Taliban has not made any claim of responsibility for the attack. Authorities say they have launched an investigation into whether Ms. Seddiqi’s murder was politically motivated, said Helai Nekzad, the chief of information at the women’s affairs ministry in Kabul.

Officials believed both killings were carried out by the Taliban, who have gained a hold on the province and targeted women in the US-backed Afghan government. President Hamid Karzai described the attack as “terroristic”.

“Targeting important government officials is part of the Taliban strategy to undermine the government’s and the foreign forces’ efforts in the country,” Zufenon Safi, who represents Laghman in Parliament, said.

“There is only one reason behind killing women: to prevent women from working in the government”.