Gunman in Afghanistan Shoots Down Female Officer


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Sub-inspector for the criminal investigation unit, Negar, was buying grass for her lambs in a local market in the Helmand province when she was shot down by two men on a motorcycle yesterday, according to reports from provincial government spokesman Omar Zawak. Negar was not pronounced dead from her wound until today.

Zawak went on to say the the loss of Negar will be hard to overcome and that her role will be hard to replace: “She was very productive, participating in all kinds of operations. She never said 'no' to anything we asked of her. She was an inspiration to other female police officers in Helmand." Negar's death comes just 2 months after her fellow officer, Bibi, was also shot down by gunmen in the same city after being drug from her home.

These recent deaths will be a blow toward female police recruitment, which is currently only 1% of the total police-force. President Hamid Karzai, who took control after the former Taliban regime was toppled, had promised to protect the freedom of women to enter to workforce and serve as public officials. However, the Islam-dominated and Taliban-tainted country has had a hard time adopting to these new cultural standards. The attack against Negar was not the first instance of violence against women in Afghanistan, nor will it be the last. In 2008, Afghanistan's most prominent female officer was killed by the Taliban. In August this year, a female Afghan Senator was the target of an attack which left her seriously injured and killed her daughter. And earlier this month, a female member of parliament was held hostage and eventually released as a part of an exchange of people. At Negar's funeral, a fellow policewoman stated that “We have received warnings from the Taliban that they will kill each of us within three months. They said that they will kill every single policewoman in Helmand within three months.”

These attacks have come on the eve of British and US soldiers withdrawing from the country at an increasing pace. These incidences bring up several questions of culpability. It is no question as to whether or not the government in Afghanistan was corrupt and oppressive. However, one must question the continued actions of first-world countries intervening in developing countries and forcing them to adopt their "better" forms of governance and cultural norms. The US and England must withdraw all of their forces from Afghanistan at some point, but what is that bright-line, and is it the responsibility of the United States to ensure that Afghanistan and its new-found freedom is completely protected from the Taliban? These questions seem as if they will be answered soon as the pressure to withdraw troops continues to escalate.

Image via Wikimedia Commons