A top policewoman in southern Afghanistan has died after being shot by unknown attackers, months after her predecessor was also slain in similar circumstances.
Sub-Inspector Negara, who like many Afghans goes by one name, was buying grass for her lambs outside her home on Sunday when two gunmen drove up on a motorbike and shot her in the neck, said Omar Zawak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand province.
She believed her duty was the most crucial and most important for women in Helmand Province.
Doctors tried to save her, but police spokesman Fareed Ahmad Obaidi said she died at 1am on Monday. Zawak also confirmed her death.
Kandahar government spokesperson, Javid Faisal told Al Jazeera that Negara had believed what she was doing was important for all women in Helmand province.
“She was the top when it comes to the female police force in Helmand. She has also worked during Dr Najibullah regime in Afghanistan,” Faisal said.
“She was considered the most effective female police commander in the province and she believed her duty was the most crucial and most important for women in Helmand Province.
“She didn’t have any threats from her family, friends, relatives or siblings but insurgents and extremists are against the women rights and women’s independence in the country.”
Negar worked in Helmand province’s criminal investigation department in Lashkar Gah city.
She had taken over the duties of Islam Bibi, a well-known police officer who was shot dead in July by unknown gunmen.
Bibi had told reporters her own relatives had threatened her for holding the job.
Officials have given different ages for Negara, including 35 and 38, and varying accounts of her work history.
Her son-in-law, Faizullah Khan, on Monday told The Associated Press that she was 41 and had two children, a son and a daughter, and that she had worked for the police in the early 1990s before the Taliban took over the country and banned women from working.
“She was like a mother to me, and I learned so many things from her,” Khan said.
Women under attack
Negara’s family has had several police officers, including her son, a brother, and Khan himself, and her relatives had not objected to her work, the son-in-law said.
However, she had been getting phone threats from people claiming to be with the Taliban, who have been waging an insurgency since being topped by US-led forces in 2001.
The Taliban have not claimed responsibility for the attack on Negar, and a spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment, but they are believed to be behind many of the recent assaults on Afghan women.
Earlier this month, a female parliamentarian held captive for about four weeks was freed by the Taliban in exchange for several detained fighters, a provincial politician told The Associated Press.
The Taliban said the freed prisoners were “four innocent women and two children.”
In August, an armed group ambushed the convoy of a female Afghan senator, seriously wounding her in the attack and killing her eight-year-old daughter and a bodyguard.