Prominent Feminist Afghan Politician Survives Suicide Attack


Today, a suicide bomber carried out an attack on the vehicle of Shukria Barakzai a female member of Afghanistan parliament and outspoken proponent of women’s rights. Barakzai survived the assassination attempt with minor injuries, but three people were killed and somewhere between 17-22 were left injured.

Barakzai gave a statement from her hospital bed, saying “I survived because of my people’s prayers.”

While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, it is assumed to be the work of the Taliban, which has particularly targeted female politicians and women’s rights advocates before. Barzakzai herself, a vocal critic of the Taliban, has received several death threats for her work. Sediq Sediqqi, an interior ministry spokesman disclosed some details of the attack, via Al Jazeera:

The attacker was in a car that attempted to ram Barakzai’s vehicle. The assailant then detonated explosives, causing a massive blast that was heard across the capital, Sediqqi said.
Shinkay Karokhil, another female MP, told the AFP news agency: “The target was a convoy of MPs who were driving toward the parliament. Shukria Barakzai was affected by the attack but she is fine.”

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani had just finished up a two-day visit to Pakistan, which is often accused of providing refuge for Taliban members. He condemned the attack on Barakzai, saying it was “a heinous act against all Islamic and Afghani values.”

Barakzai is an incredibly accomplished woman, having helped operate an underground school for girls during the 1996 and 2001 when the Taliban controlled much of Afghanistan. In 2002, she founded a newspaper for Afghan Women and in 2004 was named International Editor of the Year by She’s clearly influential, powerful, and a threat to extremists hell-bent on subduing women and human rights.

Image via AP.

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