Taliban kill Afghanistan’s most high-profile policewoman
By: Nasrat Shoaib
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – Taliban gunmen shot dead the most high-profile
female police officer in Afghanistan on Sunday as she left her home to
go to work on Sunday, officials and the militia said.
The attackers were waiting outside the home of Malalai Kakar, head of
the city of Kandahar’s department of crimes against women, and opened
fire on her car, Kandahar government spokesman Zalmay Ayoobi told AFP.
“Today between 7 am and 8 am when she was (in her car) outside her house
and going to her job, some gunmen attacked,” Ayoobi said. “Malalai Kakar
died in front of her house. Her son was wounded.”
A doctor in the city’s main hospital said Kakar, in her late 30s, had
been shot in the head.
“She died on the spot and her son was badly injured and is in a coma,”
said the doctor, who declined to let his name be used.
A spokesman for the extremist Taliban movement, which targets government
officials as part of an growing insurgency, said that the assassins were
from his group.
“We killed Malalai Kakar,” spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP. “She was
our target, and we successfully eliminated our target.”
Kakar, a mother of six, was regularly profiled in international media
and was known for her courage in one of Afghanistan’s most conservative
A captain in the police force and the most senior policewoman in
Kandahar, she headed a team of about 10 women police officers and had
reportedly received numerous death threats.
Kandahar is the birthplace of the extremist Taliban, who are mounting a
growing insurgency that targets officials working with the government.
During their 1996-2001 hold on power, the Taliban stopped women from
working outside the home and stopped them from leaving home without a
male relative and an all-covering burqa.
Kakar was well-respected in the police force for her bravery, one of her
colleagues said on condition of anonymity.
She was the first woman to enrol in the Kandahar police force after the
2001 ouster of the Taliban and had been involved in investigating crimes
against women and children, and conducting house searches.
The head of Kandahar province’s women’s affairs department was killed in
a similar way two years ago.
In June, gunmen shot dead a female police officer in the western
province of Herat in what was believed to be the first assassination of
a female police officer in the war-torn country.
Bibi Hoor, 26, was on her way home when two armed men on motorbikes
opened fire, killing her instantly. It was not clear who killed her or
Afghanistan’s police force was destroyed by the time the Taliban were
removed and is being rebuilt with international assistance. It numbers
about 80,000 people, including a few hundred women.
About 750 policemen have been killed in the past six months, mostly in
insurgency-linked violence sweeping the country.