Politician killed in Afghanistan: Death of a combatant

After the death of Mursal Nabizada, the perpetrators and the motive are still unknown. Some suspect the ruling Taliban.

A woman on a cell phone screen

The hair visible, the look seems challenging: the Afghan ex-MP Mursal Nabizada Photo: Wakil Kohsar/afp/getty images

MUMBAI taz | On the night of Sunday, politician Mursal Nabizada and one of her bodyguards were shot dead by unknown persons at their home in the Afghan capital Kabul. When the shots rang out, it was already too late, a tearful woman said in a report on the private Afghan television station Tolo.

According to the police, Nabizada’s brother and another bodyguard were also injured in the attack, and a third is said to have fled the scene with money and jewelry. Nabizada’s family expressed surprise to media representatives from Tolo. Her sister stressed that there had been no threats against her.

But: Nabizada stood up for her values. After the Taliban took power in August 2021, the ex-MP made a conscious decision not to leave her homeland. The 32-year-old was one of the few parliamentarians who stayed in the country – even when the security situation especially for women continued to deteriorate.

Nabizada came from the eastern province of Nangarhar, was elected to the lower house of the Afghan bicameral parliament in late 2018 and was a member of the parliamentary defense committee until he came to power. The Pashtun woman reportedly worked at a private non-governmental organization, the Institute for Human Resources Development and Research.

“It’s my country”

Afghanistan is not a restaurant whose service she doesn’t like and which is why she is leaving, Nabizada is said to have said in a voice message circulating on social media. “It’s my country and I want to stay with my people.”

Nabizada had been critical of the Taliban in the past, as well as of them the role of Pakistan, which she described as one of the regime’s greatest supporters. In an interview, she criticized the education bans for girls.

Since autumn 2021, the Taliban have prevented girls from attending high school, since last December, women have also been banned from attending the university. Also in December, the Taliban also had women forbidden to work in civil organizations.

The violent death of Nabizada was the first of a former member of parliament since the Taliban took power, it wrote the US radio network Voice of America. According to Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul security agency, the search for the previously unknown perpetrators has been initiated. The motive is still unclear.

Afghanistan “Hell on Earth for Women”

Nabizada was “a true trailblazer—a strong, outspoken woman who stood up for her beliefs, even in the face of danger. Despite being offered the opportunity to leave Afghanistan, she chose to stay and fight for her people,” she wrote former MP Mariam Solaimankhil on Twitter and regretted a “great loss”. Afghan start-up founder Sara Wahedi described her homeland as “hell on earth for women” after the death of Nabizada.

The murder was also condemned internationally. Tirana Hasaninterim executive director of Human Rights Watch, called Nabizada’s death the latest escalation in a sweeping attack on women’s rights under the Taliban.

Green MEP Hannah Neumann commented that she was sad and angry and wanted the world to know about it: “She was killed in the dark, but the Taliban are building their system of gender apartheid in daylight.” Afghan women and democratic forces are likely to face be left in the lurch by the murderous Taliban, demanded the Austrian politician Berîvan Aslan.

“I will continue to urge our government to do more for the Afghan people, especially women and girls. We owe them that.” promised British Labor MP Sarah Champion.

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