Women rights activist assassinated in Afghanistan

While the warring Afghan sides are on a break from the intra-Afghan talks, there seems to be no such break in the deadly spree of daily targeted assassinations in Afghanistan

Shraddha Nand Bhatnagar Dec 25, 2020
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While the warring Afghan sides are on a break from the intra-Afghan talks, there seems to be no such break in the deadly spree of daily targeted assassinations in Afghanistan. On Thursday, a prominent Afghan women rights activist became the latest victim of this campaign.

Freshta Kohistani was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Kohistani district of Kapisa province on Thursday evening, Tolonews reported. Her brother was also wounded in the attack. The Afghan interior ministry, confirming the incident, said intelligence units have launched an investigation on the killing. 

Just days before her killing, she had asked the government for security as she had been receiving constant death threats. In her last Facebook post, she is seen highlighting the threat to her life. 

No group has claimed the attack. Such attacks on civil society members often go unclaimed. 

Members of Afghan civil societies, especially journalists and vocal rights activists, are becoming targets of these assassinations attacks by unknown gunmen. Earlier on Wednesday, Yusuf Rasheed, the head of an Afghan election watchdog body, was killed in a similar attack. 

Freshta, also a former provincial council member, has continuously raised the issue of violence against women in Afghanistan. Earlier, she had organized protests and social media campaigns to raise awareness among people. 
 
Despite the peace talks in Doha, the violence level hasn’t come down in the country. So far, the insurgent group, the Taliban, hasn’t shown a commitment to reducing the violence.

Condemning the recent targeted attacks on rights activists, and doctors, US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet, “These targeted killings and assassinations must stop. They threaten the peace process.” He also urged the Afghan parties to "redouble their efforts." A ceasefire and political settlement remain urgent, he added. 

“Whether the Taliban accepts it or not, they are responsible for all such acts of violence that happen in Afghanistan,” Tahir Zahir, the acting minister of Information and culture, was quoted by Tolonews on Thursday. The minister blamed the Taliban for attacks on journalists and added the incidents are severely impacting the press freedom in the country. 

Lately, the Afghan government has come under pressure due to its inability to stop these attacks. The information minister said he had requested the interior ministry to devise a new security strategy to ensure the safety and security of journalists in the country.

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