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Afghan woman official assassinated

10 December 2012, 14:02

Mihtarlam - Gunmen assassinated an Afghan women's affairs official on Monday just months after her predecessor was blown up by a bomb, police said.

Nadia Sidiqi, the acting director of the women's affairs department in the eastern province of Laghman, was shot dead by two unidentified men while on her way to work in a motorised rickshaw.

"We have launched an investigation and we have sealed off the area where the attack took place and we will very soon capture the attackers," Laghman police chief Ahmad Sherzad said.

Sidiqi took over from provincial women's affairs director Hanifa Safi, who was killed when a magnetic bomb attached to her vehicle exploded in July.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's attack, but targeted assassinations are increasingly used by Taliban insurgents in their campaign against the Western-backed Kabul government.

The hardline Islamists were notorious for their suppression of women's rights during their rule from 1996 to 2001, when they were overthrown by a US-led invasion.

Earlier this month a young woman still at school who also doubled as a health worker was shot dead as she walked out of her family home in Kapisa province, which borders Laghman.

On Thursday a Taliban suicide bomber with explosives in his underpants wounded the nation's intelligence chief after entering a tightly-guarded guesthouse by posing as a Taliban peace envoy.



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