Police in southern Afghanistan say the head of the women's affairs department in Kandahar province has been gunned down outside her home.

Authorities in Kandahar city say unidentified gunmen on motorbikes shot and killed Safia Ama Jan as she was about to leave for her office Monday. No one claimed responsibility, but the attack was similar to other killings carried out by Taleban insurgents. Members of the militant group have been fighting against the Kabul government and foreign troops supporting Afghanistan's army.

Jan was named to direct women's affairs in Kandahar in 2002, when her government department was established following the overthrow of the extremist Taleban regime. The U.S.-led offensive that drove the Taleban from power in Afghanistan enabled the new government to offer women relief from the militants' repressive policies.