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.
    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.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Kaine Project Optimism in First Joint Campaign Event

    Kaine, a moderate, has potential to attract voters repelled by Donald Trump and those who may have a hard time fully embracing Clinton

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora