Zaki was also a school headmistress and attended the 2003 meeting that drew up Afghanistan's post-Taliban constitution.

'Deep shock'
London-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which expressed "deep shock" at the killing, said she had received several death threats after openly criticising regional commanders and the Taliban.

"Whether this savage act was linked to her work as a journalist or her civic responsibilities, it is vital that those who are responsible for this murder should be quickly identified and punished," it said in a statement.

Zaki's murder was the second of a female reporter in Afghanistan in a week.

Shakiba Sanga Amaj, a popular television new presenter, was also shot dead in her home in Kabul on May 31.

Nato soldiers killed

On the same day that news of Zaki's killing broke, an International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) statement said two soldiers from the Nato-led force died in "separate engagements with enemy fighters" in southern Afghanistan.
Britain's defence ministry later confirmed on Wednesday that one of the two Nato soldiers was British, but would not reveal the nationality of the other.

Nato-led and Afghan forces are involved
in "more than 20 operations" [AFP]
It said the soldier was taking part in an offensive patrol in the Upper Gereshk Valley area of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan when they came under attack.

"The company was moving forward to clear a Taliban compound when they came under fire and the soldier was shot," a statement from the ministry said.
The soldier was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Elsewhere, US-led multinational forces and Afghan troops backed by air strikes killed two suspected Taliban fighters and detained 19 others.

Lieutenant-Colonel Maria Carl, an Isaf spokeswoman, said Nato and Afghan troops were participating in more than 20 operations around the country and operating in more regions than a year ago.