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In Memoriam: Sitara Achakzai

April 12, 2009

The AP is reporting that Sitara Achakazai, a member of Kandahar’s provincial council and advocate for women’s rights in Afghanistan has been murdered by gunmen.The assassination occurred as she returned from a council meeting.

Last year, Achakazai put together a Prayer for Peace demonstration in one of the city’s largest mosques on International Women’s Day, which was attended by over 1500 women. This year, they were banned from entering the mosque and held a meeting at the city’s human rights commission instead.

Unfortunately, as the Guardian article points out, it is not unusual for women politicians to be killed in Afghanistan:

There have been many other attacks on women in the province, including the assassination in 2006 of Safia Amajan, the head of the province’s women’s affairs department.

Malalai Kakar, a top policewoman in the city, was killed last September.

When it comes to working for women’s rights in Afghanistan, it is essential for western feminists to follow the lead of Afghani women like Achakazai. Today that means honoring her memory.

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