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Afghan Journalist Mina Mangal
Image: Fararou

Police hunt ex-husband of murdered Afghan journalist

May 13, 2019

Afghan police have launched a manhunt for the ex-husband of murdered Afghan journalist Mina Mangal. She was shot to death on her way to work by unknown gunmen on Saturday; her parents suspect he is behind the killing.


Police in Afghanistan were searching for the ex-husband of murdered journalist Mina Mangal on Monday, after her family said they believed him to be the person who fatally shot her over the weekend.

Mangal, who was also a cultural adviser for the Afghan parliament, was killed by unknown gunmen on Saturday when she was leaving home for work in the Karte Naw area of Kabul.

Mangal's parents said that the ex-husband, who their daughter divorced one week before her death, is responsible for the killing, Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid.

In a Facebook post published before her death, Mangal said she had been threatened but would continue to carry out her work, without providing details of the nature or source of the threat.

Read more: Afghanistan: Peace without women's rights?

Kidnapped by in-laws

Mina Mangal's brother, Shakib Mangal, told DW that his sister had once been abducted by her husband's family.

He said his family has now filed a complaint against both his sister's ex-husband and that man's parents.

"Her in-laws had abducted her two years ago but we were able to get her released with the help of some government officials and tribal elders," Mangal said. "Her ex-husband, however, continued threaenting Mina Manga."

"Now that Mina is gone, I, my wife and children, my five other sisters and my parents continue to face threats," he said.

Shakib Mangal said that despite vowing not to oppose his sister working as a journalist before their wedding, his sister's ex-husband had tried to stop her from working both during and after their marriage.

Read more: Is Afghanistan ready for a #MeToo movement?

Women scared to work outside home

Kabul-based women's rights activist Robina Hamdard, from the Afghan Women's Network, told DW that target killings of women outside their homes could force other women to stay home out of fear for their safety.

"We are concerned about the situation because it has a direct impact on women who work outside their homes," Hamdard said. "Female journalists are changing their professions due to the increasing risks they are facing."

Afghanistan has low rankings for gender equality, with women facing issues such as forced marriages, honor killings and domestic violence, particularly in rural areas.

As US-Taliban peace talks gain momentum, many women fear losing the few hard-earned freedoms they have gained since US-backed Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001.

During the Taliban's rule from 1996-2001, women were barred from working outside their homes and were required to be accompanied by a male relative.

Giving a voice to Afghan women

International condolences

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the US Embassy in Afghanistan have spoken out against the killing, with Trudeau calling it an "unacceptable tragedy."

"Mangal was a brave journalist and advocate for women and girls, whose work was vital to advancing gender equality not only in Afghanistan, but around the world," Trudeau wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Women's rights activist Wazhma Frogh said Mangal "had a loud voice" and actively spoke out as an advocate for her people.

"Can't stop my tears at the loss of this beautiful soul," Frogh wrote on Twitter.

law/msh (dpa, Reuters)

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