Taliban Claim Responsibility In Killing Of Key Female Afghan Officer

Taliban Claim Responsibility In Killing Of Key Female Afghan Officer
September 29th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Taliban Claim Responsibility In Killing Of Key Female Afghan Officer

Taliban Claim Responsibility In Killing Of Key Female Afghan Officer
New York Times
September 29, 2008
Pg. 9
By John F. Burns
KABUL, Afghanistan — In an attack claimed by the Taliban, two gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed Afghanistan’s most high-profile female police officer on Sunday as she prepared to leave for work in the southern city of Kandahar. The police in the city said she died instantly from gunshot wounds to her head. Her 18-year-old son, driving her car, was seriously wounded and taken to the hospital.
The police officer, Malalai Kakar, who was in her mid-40s with six children, was an iconic figure among women’s groups in Afghanistan and abroad. Often profiled in the Afghan and foreign news media, she was one of the leading totems for the wider freedoms gained by women when the Taliban, with their repressive policies toward women, were ousted from power by an American-led coalition in 2001.
The attack was the latest in a wave of attacks on women across Afghanistan for which the Taliban have claimed responsibility. After scattering in the wake of the 2001 offensive, the Islamic militants have regrouped over the past two years.
“We killed Malalai Kakar,” a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, told the news service Agence France-Presse in a telephone call.
Ms. Kakar, with the rank of captain, was head of Kandahar’s department of crimes against women. She joined the police in the city in 1982, following in the footsteps of her father and brothers, but was forced out after the Taliban captured Kandahar in the mid-1990s and barred all women from working.
She was the first female police officer in the country to return to work after the Taliban were ousted. Her commitment was particularly notable for the fact that it took place in Kandahar, which became the headquarters for the Taliban soon after the movement was formed in the early 1990s.
President Hamid Karzai, in the United States, issued a statement calling the attack “an act of cowardice” committed by “enemies of peace and welfare and reconstruction of Afghanistan.” The Interior Ministry in Kabul, responsible for the country’s 80,000-strong police, about 700 of them women, called Ms. Kakar “a brave hero among women and loyal to her profession.”
The police commander in Kandahar, Gen. Matiullah Qati, said Ms. Kakar had continued working despite repeated death threats. “She took a big risk by continuing to work in the current serious situation, and her death will undoubtedly have a negative impact on other women who may have wanted to join the police but now may not dare to,” he said.
The European Union’s mission in Kabul said it was “appalled by the brutal targeting” of the police officer, and added: “Any murder of a police officer is to be condemned, but the killing of a female officer whose service was not only to her country, but to Afghan women, to whom Ms. Kakar served as an example, is particularly abhorrent.”
Ms. Kakar was not the first female official of prominence in Kandahar to be killed. Two years ago, the head of the province’s women’s affairs department was killed in a similar attack by gunmen. In June, a female police officer was shot and killed by gunmen in the western province of Herat, the first fatal attack on a policewoman since the Taliban were toppled.
In another attack in the same region of the country on Sunday, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed seven people, including himself, when he attacked two border police vehicles in the main bazaar in Spinbaldak, on the Pakistan border about 80 miles southeast of Kandahar.
Col. Abdul Razaq, the border police commander in Kandahar, said the blast had killed three policemen and three civilians in the marketplace, and wounded 15 others.
Since 2005, suicide bombings have been a common weapon for the Taliban and militants of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, who have drawn on the example set by terrorist groups in Iraq. According to unofficial figures compiled by The New York Times from Interior Ministry statements and other sources, including the American-led International Security Assistance Force, there were about 130 suicide bombings in Afghanistan last year.
One of the more recent attacks occurred at the provincial police headquarters in Kandahar three weeks ago, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up inside the building, killing 5 people and wounding about 40. Four days later, a suicide car bomb was detonated near a convoy of private security guards in the city, killing two civilians, including a schoolboy.
Statements by the American military command at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, frequently record ground attacks and airstrikes by Afghan and American forces on suspected strongholds of militants believed to be organizing, financing and equipping suicide bombers. In one such announcement on Sunday, the United States command said that coalition troops had attacked a Qaeda network engaged in planning “numerous” suicide attacks and roadside bombings in Kunar Province, east of Kabul along the Pakistan border.
The American statement said that coalition troops had cleared one compound and were moving to another when “they were met by a barrage of automatic weapons and small-arms fire.” It said that the troops had called in “close air support,” usually involving missiles, bombs or heavy cannon fire, and that two of the militants had been killed.
Abdul Waheed Wafa and Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting from Kabul, and Taimoor Shah from Kandahar, Afghanistan.

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