Female Activist / Politician Murdered in Afghanistan
A Provincial Government official who was a women's rights campaigner was gunned down outside her home in Kandahar city on Sunday, in yet another blow to the advancement of women in Afghanistan.
Sitara Achakzai was a dual Afghan-German citizen who lived in Germany during the Taliban rule, but returned to her home in Afghanistan in 2004 to fight for women's rights.
She was elected to Kandahar's provincial council but the dream ended Sunday in gunfire as men on motorcycles pulled up alongside a motorized rickshaw and shot Achakzai as she arrived home.
Earlier this year, she led a nationwide sit-in of 11,000 Afghan women in seven provinces who gathered to pray for peace on International Women's Day.
"The Canadian troops are dying the same way my sister sacrificed herself. They should come out of Afghanistan because all the good people who are trying to do something there are dying away."
Ahmed Wali Karzai, chair of Kandahar's provincial council and brother to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said Achakzai's murder will likely deter women from seeking elected office or taking other government jobs.
"That will definitely affect the family. No one will take a risk to send their daughters and their mothers and their wives to become a member of parliament," Karzai said. "So definitely, it's a big blow for the Afghan society," he added.
She is among several high-profile women assassinated by Taliban in recent years. But it is merely the most public example of the extreme violence women face in this embattled country, where rape and murder are widespread.
See Video Clips:
CTV National News: Activist gunned down, Lisa LaFlamme on the tragic setback
CTV Newsnet: Eleanor Smeal, The Feminist Majority