‘Beautiful soul’

Days after voicing fears for her life, journalist and political adviser Mena Mangal assassinated in Kabul

Former journalist and advisor to the cultural affairs commission of the Afghan parliament Mena Mangal. (Twitter/@qadir_sediqi)

A prominent journalist and adviser to the Afghan parliament has been gunned down in Kabul, just days after posting on social media that she feared for her life.

Mena Mangal was killed on Saturday morning in a brazen, public attack carried out in broad daylight, the Guardian reports. In a Face­book post on May 3, she said had received threatening messages, but that a strong woman does not fear death, and that she loved her country.

“This woman had already shared that her life was in danger; why did nothing happen? We need answers,” Wazhma Frogh, an Afghan human rights lawyer and women’s rights campaigner told the Guardian. “Why is it so easy in this society [for men] to keep killing women they disagree with?”

The murder is under investigation, but Mangal’s mother, in a video posted to Twitter, named a group of men as suspects — claiming they had previously kidnapped her daughter but escaped justice by bribing their way out of detention.

Mangal forged her career as a presenter on the Pashto-language channel Tolo TV, the country’s largest private broadcaster, and later worked for one of its competitors, Shamshad TV.

Off-screen she was a passionate advocate of women’s rights to education and work, and had recently become a cultural adviser to the lower chamber of Afghanistan’s national parliament.

“Can’t stop my tears at the loss of this beautiful soul. She had a loud voice, and actively raised [that] voice for her people,” Frogh said.

Women have been repeatedly targeted for assassination over the past two decades of war in Afghanistan, by insurgents who sought to oppress women’s voices, and even by members of their own families and communities.

Mangal’s death comes as women’s rights are felt to be in jeopardy in the region, as the U.S. apparently sidelines hard-won freedoms in a push to broker peace with the Taliban.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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