A senior women’s affairs official who has criticised the Taleban’s treatment of women was shot dead outside her home in southern Afghanistan today.
Safia Ama Jan was getting into a car outside her house in the city of Kandahar when two gunmen on motorcycles opened fire.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, although Taleban insurgents have killed numerous government officials as part of their war against the Government and foreign forces supporting it.
Mrs Ama Jan had worked as the provincial director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs since the Taleban were overthrown five years ago. She may have been targeted for her opposition to the Islamic extremists’ attempts to limit women’s involvement in politics and education.
As a well known women rights campaigner, she was aware that she was vulnerable to attack and had asked for official transport and personal bodyguards. The Afghan Government rejected these requests. It is thought that she was getting into a taxi on her way to work when she was killed.
The report adds this poignant note:
She was wearing a burqa when she was shot.
ABC (Australia) notes that the Taliban have now claimed credit for the murder:
The Taliban, who have killed numerous government officials as part of their war against the government and foreign forces supporting it, claimed responsibility for shooting Safia Ama Jan.
A Taliban commander, Mullah Hayat Khan, said Ama Jan was killed because she worked for the government.
“We have told people time and time again that anyone working for the government, including women, will be killed,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.
That’s the way to win the hearts and minds of your countrymen.