Maryam Koofi, a member of Afghanistan’s Parliament, was wounded in a shooting yesterday. The assailant shot her twice in her leg as she was leaving her office last night.
Maryam’s sister, Fawzia Koofi, claims it was an act of political intimidation by those who oppose the rights women have gained over the past few years, but the government claims the assailant was a police officer in a dispute with Maryam. “I don’t know who was behind this attack–but I know that it was political,” said Fawzia, who is also a member of Parliament and a women’s rights activist. She survived a similar shooting attack in 2010.
The departure of most foreign troops in coming months has women’s rights and human rights activists concerned about the possible resurgence of the Taliban and its potential impact on women. Over the last decade, with the help and support of the U.S. and the international community, Afghan women and girls have made steady progress in every sector of society. Previously stripped of all human rights and forced into a state of virtual house arrest under the Taliban, women are now 27 percent of Afghan Parliament, about 35 percent of all primary and secondary school students, and nearly 19 percent of students attending university. Over 200 women candidates ran for provincial council seats and two women ran for vice president in the recent elections, which were completed successfully with high turnout and low levels of violence.
Maryam Koofi is currently recovering in a Kabul hospital.