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Indian author Sushmita Banerjee shot dead by 'Taliban militants' in Afghanistan

Indian author Sushmita Banerjee has been shot dead by suspected Taliban militants in Afghanistan. Her popular memoir about escaping from the Taliban was made into a Bollywood film.

Sushmita Banerjee, 49, was found murdered in her home in the Afghan province of Paktika, local police said Thursday.

"We found her bullet riddled body near Madrassa on the outskirts of Sharan city [the provincial capital] this morning," provincial police chief Dawlat Khan Zadran told news agency AFP.

"She had been shot 20 times and some of her hair had been ripped off by the militants," Zadran added.

He said Taliban militants were suspected of perpetrating the attack, which may have been linked to her popular memoir "Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife." The book documents her time in Afghanistan living under the Taliban and subsequent dramatic escape.

"Our investigation ... indicates that the militants had grievances against her for something she had written or told in the past, which was then turned into a film," the provincial police chief said.

"Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife," became the basis for the 2003 Bollywood film "Escape from Taliban."

Banerjee was married to Afghan businessman Jaanbaz Khan. According to news agency AFP she had recently moved back to live with him in the insurgency-hit Paktika province to run a health clinic.

Her death marks the latest in a string of attacks on prominent women in Afghanistan, raising fears of a further decline in women's rights in the war-torn nation.

ccp/tj (AFP, AP)