Afghan Women’s Affairs Provincial Director Killed

Safia Amajan, the provincial director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Kandahar, was killed by gunman today outside of her home. There is speculation that she was killed in retaliation for her outspoken support of women’s rights and her work opening schools for women in Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press and BBC News. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the murder.

Amajan had unsuccessfully requested bodyguards and secure transportation from the Afghan government; at the time of the attack, she was getting into a taxi to go to work, BBC reports. Aleem Siddique, spokesperson for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said his agency “is appalled at the senseless murder of a woman who was simply working to ensure that all Afghan women play a full and equal part in the future of Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that because of threats against girls’ education and violence against girls’ schools, many Afghan girls are turning back to the secret home schools that were the only means for the education of girls under the Taliban regime. Some experts have estimated that every day in Afghanistan a girls’ school is destroyed or a teacher is murdered. The Post reports that almost half of the 748 schools in the four southern provinces, where Taliban insurgents have been most active, have closed, and in Kandahar, all schools are closed in five districts.

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Associated Press 9/25/06; BBC 9/25/06; UN News Service 9/25/06; Washington Post 9/23/06

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