Afghan women’s affairs official assassinated on her way to work

Afghan women protestors

Afghan women march for human rights in Kabul on Monday.

Yesterday, Najia Sediqi, the head of women’s affairs for a local province in eastern Afghanistan, was shot to death on her way to work.

This is part of a systematic effort to intimidate high-profile female officials. Just a few months ago, Sediqi’s predecessor died in a car bomb attack attributed to the Taliban. Sediqi had repeatedly requested police protection but to no avail. “There is only one reason behind killing women: to prevent women from working in the government,” explains a local representative.

Today, the UN released a report on the state of Afghan women’s rights. It found the country still has a long way to go in implementing the groundbreaking 2009 Law on Elimination of Violence against Women–which criminalized child marriage, selling and buying women to settle disputes, rape, and other abuses. While the law is increasingly being applied, violence against women is still vastly underreported–and most incidents aren’t fully investigated.

Meanwhile, many activists fear the Karzai government’s commitment to protecting women’s rights is waning as it works to strike a peace deal with the Taliban.

Photo via. 

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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