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Targeted-killings forced Nangarhari women to quit jobs

AT News

KABUL: The sharp waves of targeted-killings on educated and intellectual women in eastern Nangarhar province forced dozens of them to either resign or stop going to office.

24 years old, Alias Razia quit her job as she witnessed a quick surge in targeted-killings of women in the provincial capital city of Jalalabad. According to Razia, she decided to stop going to workplaces after the gunmen shot three polio vaccinators in the city. Razia said that she has once paid unbreakable efforts to get the job but, as insecurity has been risen, Jalalabad become a hotspot for women to work there. 

Razia is one of the dozens of professional women in the province who decided to quit jobs, fearing the possible attacks of hit-and-run assassination.

A journalist, Sahira Saleem has stopped working some weeks ago. Saleem said that the attacks carried out on female employees and journalists posed a horror for women to go out for work.

“In such a condition, we fear everyone; they may kill us and fear that it will be my turn this time,” she said. “After the recent attacks, many women journalists and government staffs resigned or preferred to stay at home.”

An official in the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Zabiullah Farhang said that “14 women have been killed and 22 others wounded since start of 2021.”  

Off these 14 women, seven of them were killed in almost one last month in Jalalabad city.

Last Tuesday, a number of unidentified gunmen shot three female vaccinators dead in two separate attacks in PD 4 and PD 7 of Jalalabad.

The attacks faced serious reactions by the human rights watchdogs, Afghan government and as well as Afghans on social media. The Amnesty International called for an immediate investigation into the incident. “This despicable and cowardly act has taken the lives of three women who were dedicating themselves to protecting the health of Afghan children,” the Amnesty International said in a statement.

Last month, in a similar incident, three female anchors of the Enikas TV channel were killed in Jalalabad. The ISIS-K or so called Daesh asserted the responsibility for the attack.

Samina Safi is one of the three vaccinators who lost her live in the gunmen attacks in Jalalabad. She educated in nursing and was working as a volunteer for polio vaccination campaign. Samina’s cuisine, Burhanuddin Nizami said that she “loved her life, her people and her country, she was educated and smart, and always wanted to serve her people.”

The gunmen who opened fire on Samina, is said to be waited for many hours in the vicinity of her home. Their identity remained unknown and escaped the scene via a Rickshaw.

The killing of seven women in just one month, including journalists and government employees within has been unprecedented in Nangarhar. 

There are conflictive questions rising about the ambiguous motives behind the targeted-killings in the country. The Taliban denied their involvement in the attacks. 

Nangarhar’s Governor, Ziaulhaq Amarkhil blamed the ISIS-K or so called Daesh group for the attacks but said that the Taliban have laid out the ground for group’s activity in the province. “Our findings on the recent targeted-killings, especially on women shows that Daesh group and its affiliates are involved in it,” he added. “But there is no doubt that following the Daesh footprint it reveals that some of the circumstances were laid out by the Taliban, but I should say it clearly that it was conducted by the Daesh.”

The Daesh group also asserted responsibility for the attacks however, the government earlier announced that it has rooted out the Daesh group in Nangarhar.

Amarkhil said that attacking women was the easiest way for the Daesh to spread its propagandas among the people.

However, Nangarhar’s representative at the lower house of the parliament denied the governor’s remarks regarding the incidents.

Lawmaker, Arian Youn said that the local mafia system in the province posed serious problems in the province.

“The majority of these killings and murders are conducted by Mafia circles,” she said. “Many people receive death threats and are abducted by them (Mafia groups) they are involved in insecurity in Nangarhar.”

Provincial Council Member, Ajmal Omar suggested that the attacks were conducted by the circles who seek to undermine the peace process.

“It is an intelligent war,” he added. “One group wants peace another one opposes it; it is not an incident conducted by the Taliban or Daesh, I believe these incidents are conducted by the intelligent groups who don’t want peace in the country.

The family members of the victims expressed frustration on the government’s failure to arrested the perpetrators of the attacks.

Helal Maiwand, the brother of a slain journalists working at Enikas TV channel, Malala Maiwand, who was also gunned down by armed men in Jalalabad, said that the government gave him inaccurate information about the arrest of the perpetrators who shot dead his sister.  

“Nangarhar’s governor told us that they arrested two murderers but their identity was not shared with us,” he added. “Then he told a press conference that the government killed several murderers of Malala and detained one, these two words are different from each other.”

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