News / Asia

Gunmen Kill Afghan Women's Affairs Official

Afghan men pray during the funeral of Najia Sidiqi, the acting director of the women's affairs department in Mihtarlam, December 10, 2012.
Afghan men pray during the funeral of Najia Sidiqi, the acting director of the women's affairs department in Mihtarlam, December 10, 2012.
Sharon Behn
Gunmen on Monday shot and killed an Afghan women's affairs official, just months after her predecessor was assassinated in a car bombing. As the United Nations marks Human Rights Day women still face challenges in Afghanistan.
 
Najia Sediqi was on her way to work in the capital of eastern Laghman province when she was gunned down Monday. The drive-by killing had all the hallmarks of a Taliban targeted attack.
 
Sediqi was the acting director of the provincial women's affairs department. She had stepped in to lead the office after the July assassination of Hanifa Safi, who was killed when a bomb attached to her car exploded.
 
A spokesman for the provincial governor's office, Sarhadi Zawak, said Sediqi had just left her home in Mehtarlam when she was attacked by gunmen on a motorbike.
 
The spokesman said that Sediqi's killing was part of an insurgent campaign of terror aimed at professional women.

He says, "Opponents always try to spread fear, and to show those women who work shoulder to shoulder with the government that they will face considerable challenges, and thereby force them to stop working."
 
According to Human Rights Watch, the situation for women's rights in Afghanistan is particularly bad. The New York-based rights group cites threats and attacks by insurgents on female leaders, school girls and women trying to escape domestic violence.
 
If the Afghan government is not able to secure the safety of women, says activist Rana Nooristani. "Then that will of course cause a lot of problems for the women, and that will really discourage women to do more or to work outside the home or to work outside, or be active in society, to play their role actively," she said.
 
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul condemned the attack and praised Sediqi for her unwavering dedication to women's rights.
 
Since the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban in 2001, women and girls in Afghanistan have won back some basic rights, including being able to go to school and work outside the home. But some fear that these gains are fragile, and could be traded for peace with the Taliban after international forces leave in 2014.

An Afghan policeman inspects the interior of a car belonging to the chief of police of Nimroz province, that was hit by a roadside bomb, in the Hadraskan district of Herat province, December 10, 2012.An Afghan policeman inspects the interior of a car belonging to the chief of police of Nimroz province, that was hit by a roadside bomb, in the Hadraskan district of Herat province, December 10, 2012.
x
An Afghan policeman inspects the interior of a car belonging to the chief of police of Nimroz province, that was hit by a roadside bomb, in the Hadraskan district of Herat province, December 10, 2012.
An Afghan policeman inspects the interior of a car belonging to the chief of police of Nimroz province, that was hit by a roadside bomb, in the Hadraskan district of Herat province, December 10, 2012.
Also Monday, a roadside bomb killed the police chief for the southwestern province of Nimroz.

The attacks following the wounding of Afghanistan's intelligence chief in an assassination attempt last week in Kabul.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs