Afghan women’s rights activist, brother shot dead

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Firearms on a motorcycle kill 29-year-old Freshta Kohistani and her brother in the Kohistan district of Kapisa province.

Gunmen on a motorcycle have shot dead a woman’s rights activist and her brother north of Afghanistan’s capital, officials said as a wave of murders ravaged the violence-ridden country.

“Unknown armed men on a motorcycle murdered Freshta Kohistani in the Kohistan district of Kapisa province,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told reporters on Thursday.

Kapisa provincial governor Abdul Latif Murad told the AFP news agency that the shooting took place near Kohistan’s home and that her brother was also killed in the attack.

Kohistani, 29, is the second activist to be killed in two days after a prominent pro-democracy lawyer was shot down in the capital Kabul on Wednesday.

Their killings follow a similar pattern seen in recent weeks, with prominent Afghans dead in targeted killings in daylight, several of them in the capital

Kohistani had a relatively large following on social media and regularly organized civil society events in Kabul calling for women’s rights. She was married and had a child.

Days before her death, she wrote on Facebook that she had asked for protection from the authorities after receiving threats.

She had also condemned the ongoing wave of murders of journalists and other prominent figures.

“Afghanistan is not a place to live. There is no hope of peace. Ask the tailor to take your measurement, tomorrow it may be your turn, ”she tweeted in November.

Journalists, politicians and rights activists have been increasingly targeted as violence escalates in Afghanistan, despite peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

On Wednesday, Mohammad Yousuf Rasheed, who heads an independent election observation organization, was ambushed and shot in rush hour traffic in the morning in Kabul along with his driver.

His assassination came the day after five people – including two doctors working in a prison on the outskirts of Kabul – were killed in an explosion of a car bomb.

A prominent Afghan journalist was also shot this week while on his way to a mosque in the eastern city of Ghazni.

Rahmatullah Nekzad was the fourth journalist killed in Afghanistan in the last two months and the seventh employee this year, according to the Kabul-based Afghan Journalists Security Committee.



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