A chilling story from Kim Sengupta who reports that three years on from interviewing five women fighting for a new Afghanistan with better rights for women only two have escaped the assassination.
It was another murder among so many in the bloody conflict in Afghanistan – a senior police officer gunned down by the Taliban. But the death of Malalai Kakar this week has removed a brave and dedicated champion of oppressed women; it has raised the fears of other women in public life that they too have, in effect, been sentenced to death.
Of five prominent women interviewed three years ago by The Independent for an article on post-Taliban female emancipation, three, including Ms Kakar, are dead and a fourth has had to flee after narrowly escaping assassination in an ambush in which her husband was killed.
Religious fundamentalists are waging a ruthless campaign to eliminate women who have taken up high-profile jobs. Parliamentarians, schoolteachers, civil servants, security officials and women journalists have been selected for attacks by the jihadists. Countless others have been maimed and murdered in villages where the vengeful Taliban have returned to impose the old order.
In the case of Malalai Kakar, the most prominent policewoman in Afghanistan, an additional "crime" which sealed her fate was that she was a determined and effective campaigner for women's rights.