Tom Blackwell ,  Canwest News Servicephoto of another woman being murdered by the Taliban. go to to read about other human rights abuses.


Published: Sunday, September 28, 2008

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – As Afghanistan’s most senior and most famous female police officer, based in the country’s ultra-conservative south, Lieut.-Col. Malalai Kakar knew she was a marked woman.

Just this June, the Kandahar detective confirmed that her taboo-shattering career had spawned numerous death threats.

On Sunday, two days after taking part in a Canadian event to mark the end of Islam’s holiest month, insurgents grimly confirmed her fears, shooting Kakar dead as she left her house.


The officer’s son, who doubled as her driver, was seriously wounded in the ambush, carried out by two men on a motorcycle.

The murder came as the country struggles against worsening insurgent violence, and works to reverse years of female oppression under the former Taliban regime.

“We note the Taliban claim of responsibility for this. It is repugnant,” Adrian Edwards, the chief United Nations spokesman in Afghanistan, told Canwest News Service by e-mail.

“Malalai was popular, respected, and courageous . . . Her murder is without a doubt a great blow to Afghanistan and Afghanistan’s women, especially.”

Two days ago, Kakar cheerfully helped Canadian soldiers and federal officials hand out food to needy families at an event to mark the end of Ramadan.

The trail-blazing policewoman, who had been profiled repeatedly in the international media, was struck by a single bullet to the head, said Zalmai Ayobi, spokesman for the provincial governor. “Immediately, she died.”

Although Ayobi said police had not determined who carried out the killing, the Taliban later claimed responsibility.

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