Former journalist shot dead in Afghanistan

Former journalist shot dead in Afghanistan

Agency News

Kabul, May 12 : A well-known former journalist and Cultural Advisor to Afghan Parliament--Mena Mangal has been shot dead here.The incident came days after she warned on social media that she feared for her life.

Ms Mangal was shot dead on Saturday morning in south-east Kabul, reported Pajhwok- an Afghan news agency.

She had made her name as a presenter on the Pashto-language channel Tolo TV, the country’s largest private broadcaster, and later worked for one of its key competitors, Shamshad TV. Off-screen she was a passionate advocate of women’s rights to education and work, and had recently become a cultural adviser to the lower chamber of Afghanistan’s national parliament.

The attack, in broad daylight in a public place, prompted an outpouring of grief and anger from women’s rights activists, directed at authorities who had left her unprotected in the face of threats as Mangal had shared her fears in a defiant post on Face­book on May 3, saying she was being sent threatening messages but declared that a strong woman wasn’t afraid of death, and that she loved her country. Interior ministry spokesman Nas­rat Rahimi said unknown attackers had shot Mangal, and a special police unit was now investigating.

In a tearful video posted to Twitter, Mangal’s mother named a group of men as suspected killers, claiming they had previously kidnapped her daughter. The group were arrested for that abduction, she said, but later bribed their way out of detention."Can’t stop my tears at the loss of this beautiful soul. She had a loud voice, and actively raised [that] voice for her people," Frogh said.

Such a public killing was an "absolute dishonour" on the police, intelligence services and national security council, said the political analyst Mariam.

Over the past two decades of war in Afghanistan there have been many attacks on and assassinations of women in public positions, including policewomen and politicians, educators, students and journalists. Some have been targeted by insurgents who object to women having a role in public life, while others have been attacked by conservative relatives or members of their own community.

But there is a sense that the latest murder comes at a time when women are particularly vulnerable. Afghan women’s rights activists have warned that they have been almost entirely excluded from a US drive to broker peace with the Taliban, putting hard-won freedoms in jeopardy.

When the Taliban ruled Afghan­i­stan, before the US-led campaign to topple them in 2001, they barred women from education and most work, forcing them to wear the burqa, the Guardian reported.And just days before Mangal’s murder, the Taliban attacked the headquarters of an international aid group in Kabul, citing its work on women’s rights as one reason it was targeted.

The Taliban spokesman Zabihul­lah Mujahid said Counterpart Inter­national had carried out "harmful western activities" in Afghanistan, and was "promoting open inter-mixing between men and women".UNI