Five men have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a senior female police officer in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Negar died on Monday after being shot by gunmen near police headquarters in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand. Negar was the highest-ranking female officer in the province. Her predecessor, Islam Bibi, also a woman, was murdered in July.

Women comprise less than one percent of Afghanistan’s police force, with about 1,600 women serving and about 200 more in training. In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty before her death, Negar discussed the importance of having women police officers. She said, “Women are needed, and they shouldn’t be scared [to join]. We should take pride in the fact that our people are happy with the work we do and they thank God that we women police exist.”

Fifty-three percent of Afghans approve of having female police in their communities, according to a recent UNDP police perception survey. In the same survey, seven in ten Afghans reported that they would be more likely to report a crime to a female police officer, and nearly six in ten said they would be more likely to trust a female officer to resolve a crime fairly. The Afghan Ministry of the Interior has pledged to increase the number of women police to 5,000 by 2015.

Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 9/16/2013; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 9/19/2013; Christian Science Monitor 9/17/2013; BBC 9/16/2013; United Nations Development Programme Police Perception Survey 2011

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