Nadia Sediqqi killing highlights threat to Afghan women
Murder of a senior bureaucrat proves that women face spiralling violence in Afghanistan
THE MURDER today of the acting head of women’s affairs for the Afghan province of Laghman, just five months after her predecessor was killed in a bomb attack, is stark evidence of rising levels of violence toward women in the war-torn country, says The Guardian.
No one has yet claimed responsibility, but the Taliban are the obvious culprits and the death of Nadia Sediqqi raises fears about the threat to Afghan women’s rights – and lives - once Nato troops leave the country.
Sediqqi was shot dead as she got into a rickshaw to go to work this morning in the provincial capital, Mehtar Lam. A spokesman for the governor of Laghman province said she travelled and worked without bodyguards – a common situation for female government workers.
Activists and some politicians blame waning interest in women’s rights on the part of the government for a wave of violence against women, says The Guardian.
President Hamid Karzai's government denies the accusation. But while Afghan women have won back basic rights in education, voting and employment since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001, there are fears that such freedoms could be traded away as Karzai seeks to broker peace with the group.
Sediqqi’s predecessor, Hanifa Safi, was killed in July by a car bomb that her family blamed on the Taliban. Safi's son said that authorities had ignored repeated requests that his mother should be offered protection, the Guardian reports.
His claim reinforces concerns that the safety of female government workers is not taken seriously in a country where women who pursue careers often face opposition and can be ostracised - or worse - for mixing with male colleagues.