Mina Mangal: Outcry over killing of Afghan TV presenter

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Mina MangalImage source, AfghanPresidential Inofrmation Coordination Center

Afghan politicians and women's rights activists are demanding justice after a political adviser and former prominent TV presenter was murdered in broad daylight.

Mina Mangal, who worked as a television presenter before entering politics, was shot dead at close range in Kabul on Saturday.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah vowed her killers would be caught.

The motive remains unclear but one line of inquiry is a family dispute.

In a statement released on Saturday, the interior ministry said that Ms Mangal, who was on her way to work as an adviser for the Afghan parliament's cultural affairs commission, was shot dead around 07:20 local time.

Afghanistan's Supreme Court and civil society groups including the commission into violence against women have called for a serious investigation into her killing.

Ms Mangal had recently posted on Facebook that she had received threats and feared for her life, prominent women's rights activist Wazhma Frogh said on Twitter.

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Ms Mangal separated from her husband two years ago, with her family filing a complaint alleging domestic violence at the time, Jamshid Rasooli, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, told the BBC.

He said the case had been referred to a family violence court and later dropped in a decision criticised by Ms Mangal's family.

Police are continuing their investigation into the murder and have not identified any suspects.

"I have lost an intelligent and active daughter because of a family dispute issue," Ms Mangal's father told the BBC. "I am asking the government why they could not protect my working daughter and I have lost her. I urge them to protect my other daughters and other women like them who come out of home and serve our society."

Since Ms Mangal's death, Afghan social media users have been vocal about the levels of violence against women in the country.

Some pointed out that some of Afghanistan's most high-profile crimes against women have taken place in busy areas of the capital, Kabul, including the high-security Green Zone.

"A woman has been killed in daylight because a man thought she deserves to be killed," women's rights activist Wazhma Frogh wrote.

Spotlight on women's safety

by Shazia Haya, BBC Pashto

The killing of Mina Mangal has sent shockwaves through Kabul. She was killed in daylight in a busy area not far from police positions and it appears the attackers were able to flee the scene easily.

Working women inside and outside the government have called for special measures to protect those who are seen as at risk.

As a TV presenter, Mina Mangal hosted mostly cultural shows but also a programme about women's rights. In her last post on Facebook she expressed anger against those "who threatened to suppress or kill women".

Now, as police continue their investigation, people are talking about safety and vulnerability. Breshna, a mother of five, said she feared for her daughters, who are studying and working in Kabul.

"Active and working women who leave home for work every day are not safe," she said.

The killing has focused attention once again on violence against women in Afghanistan. It comes at a time when many women fear that hard-won rights and freedoms could be jeopardised by any peace agreement with Taliban militants, who are currently in negotiations with the US.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The killing took place in broad daylight in the Afghan capital, Kabul

Rights groups have documented increasing cases of gender-based violence, particularly in areas dominated by the Taliban.

Reporters Without Borders also listed Afghanistan as the deadliest country for journalists in 2018.