Conflicts & War

Another activist victim of targeted killings in Afghanistan

Kabul, Dec 24 (efe-epa).- Women’s rights activist Freshta Kohistani was killed when gunmen opened fire on her and her brother on Thursday in northeastern Afghanistan, in what has been the latest in a series of targeted killings of politicians, activists, journalists and intellectuals in the country.

The attack occurred around 5.00 pm in the Hes-e-Awal area of Kapisa province, when people on a motorcycle shot the activist and her brother, according to a statement by the Interior Ministry.

Kohistani lost her life while her brother was wounded, the ministry said, adding that they had launched an investigation into the incident.

However, police officials in Kapisa told local broadcaster Tolo that the activist’s brother too succumbed to his injuries.

No armed group has claimed the attack yet.

On Dec. 11, the activist had posted a message on Facebook claiming her life was in danger, and calling for protection from the Afghan authorities and the security forces.

That message caused much indignation in the wake of Freshta’s death, with harsh comments against on social media against the authorities by well-known Afghan activists such as Fawzia Koofi and Wazhma Frogh.

Koofi, one of four women that are a part of the intra-Afghan peace talks at Doha looking to bring an end to nearly 20 years of conflict, took to Twitter to criticize the incompetence of security forces in protecting Freshta.

“Freshta Kohistani wrote about threats against her life. Nothing happened but they killed her today. Kabul is turning into a graveyard for bright women & men, & no one knows how to protect themselves. This is a state of emergency!” tweeted Frogh.

Attacks on politicians, journalists, religious leaders, human rights activists, and students have been on the rise for a year, coinciding with a peace agreement signed in February between the United States and the Taliban and the ongoing direct talks between Kabul and the rebels in Doha that began in September.

Earlier this week, a journalist was shot dead in front of his house on Monday in the central Ghazni province, marking the fourth targeted killing of a media personnel in the country within the last two months.

On Tuesday, at least three Afghan health workers and their driver were killed in a sticky bomb attack against their vehicle in the Afghan capital.

On Wednesday, Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan’s head Mohammad Yousuf Rasheed was shot dead in Kabul along with his driver while on his way to work.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has criticized the escalating violence in the country, where “targeted killings of civilians are taking place at a deeply disturbing rate,” and expressed regret at “the loss of so many outstanding citizens.”

According to a report by the interior ministry, “enemies of the Afghan people” have carried out 37 suicide attacks and 510 bombings within the last three months, killing at least 500 civilians and injuring over a thousand. EFE-EPA


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