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Afghanistan: Former female lawmaker shot dead in Kabul

January 15, 2023

The killing of the young former politician comes as women's rights across Afghanistan are chipped away by the Taliban. Police have not yet been able to name a suspect or a motive.

A woman looks at a picture of former Afghan lawmaker Mursal Nabizada on her mobile phone
Nabizada was one of the few former lawmakers who stayed behind in Afghanistan when the US and its allies leftImage: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP

Mursal Nabizada, a 32-year-old former lawmaker in the Afghan parliament before the Taliban's takeover, was shot dead in her home, police said on Sunday.

One of her bodyguards was also killed in the attack, which took place overnight. A second security guard was injured, along with her brother. Police did not give details of any assailants.

Nabizada is one of the few former lawmakers to stay in Afghanistan after hardline conservative Taliban militants took complete control of the country following the departure of the US and its military allies.

Her death marks the first time that a politician from the previous political establishment has been killed under Taliban control.

However, there were no indications to prove the current government had a hand in her death, Ali Latifi, a journalist based in Kabul, told DW.

"Unless a group like Daesh claims responsibility for her death, there is no reason to believe there was any ulterior motive behind her death," Latifi said, adding that her death may have been motivated by personal circumstances. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

First ex-lawmaker killed since Taliban takeover

Nabizada was elected in 2019 to represent the city of Kabul. She had served as a member of the parliamentary defense commission as well as working for a private NGO, the Institute for Human Resources Development and Research.

After the return of the Taliban in the summer of 2021, she continued doing NGO work, which she discussed around four months ago during an appearance on local TV.

She also condemned the Taliban's increasing restrictions on Afghan women's freedoms.

Police spokesperson Khalid Zadran said that the motive for the killing was unclear. However, police also said that a third bodyguard had fled the murder scene with money and jewelry.

Taliban crackdown on women

Thousands of people fled Afghanistan as Taliban forces rapidly took control back from a weakened US-backed government.

Many feared a return to the Taliban's oppressive Islamist rule that had marked their time in power in the late 1990s.

Despite promises from the Taliban to maintain some of the freedoms that people, especially women, had experienced in the two decades since the allied invasion removed the militants from power in the first place, many of these promises have gradually proven to be meaningless.

In late December, the Taliban declared that women will no longer be allowed to go to university, effectively limiting girls' education to a maximum of sixth grade.

A recent ban on women working with international NGOs has also seen much necessary support cease its work in the impoverished country.

Taliban admit bans targeting women 'counterproductive'

ab/wmr (AP, dpa)