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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Former Afghan lawmaker shot dead at her home in Kabul

Female WFP staff help beneficiaries to register for food aid from the World Food Program in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 16, 2022.


A female former legislator in Afghanistan was killed at her home in the capital, Kabul, police and her family said — a high-profile murder of one of the few women parliamentarians who remained in the country after the Western-backed government collapsed and the Taliban seized power.

The legislator, Mursal Nabizada, was shot dead early Sunday along with her bodyguard, according to Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran. Guests were visiting her at her house the night that she was killed, he added. Her brother suffered injuries.

No one has yet been arrested in connection with the killings, Zadran said, and it was not immediately clear whether it was politically motivated, or a family or interpersonal conflict. “A comprehensive investigation of the incident is underway,” Zadran tweeted Monday.

When the Taliban took over in August 2021, the parliament was dissolved. Nabizada, who was sworn in to parliament in 2019 under the previous government, initially wanted to leave the country along with most of her colleagues, who were evacuated by Western governments. But she chose to stay in Afghanistan because she was unable to find a way to bring her family members with her, said Shinkai Karokhail, a former member of parliament who served with Nabizada.

The death of Nabizada comes at a precarious moment for women in Afghanistan. In recent months, the Taliban administration has issued a flood of edicts rolling back women’s rights and all but erasing women from public life. Women are now barred from gyms, public parks and high schools; they cannot travel any significant distance without a male relative; and they must cover themselves head to toe in burqas and headpieces in public.

More recently, officials also barred women from attending universities and from working in most local and international aid groups — prompting many major organizations to suspend their operations and threatening to plunge the country deeper into a humanitarian crisis.

Nabizada, originally from Nangarhar province, in eastern Afghanistan, was just 26 when she won election. It was a feat illustrative of her generation in Afghanistan, which was raised in an era of greater freedom for women after the United States toppled the Taliban’s first regime.

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