A prominent Afghan journalist and parliamentary adviser has been killed in Kabul, an Interior Ministry spokesman told CNN Sunday.
Mina Mangal, who had worked as a television presenter for popular Pashto-language channels before entering politics, was gunned down in broad daylight Saturday morning in southeast Kabul, according to ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi.
Police investigations are underway to find the attackers who shot Mangal, Rahimi added.
The brazen attack sparked an outpouring of anger and sadness from Mangal’s colleagues and women’s rights activists, who condemned authorities for failing to protect her in the face of threats.
Afghan women’s rights activist Wazhma Frogh said that Mangal had recently posted on Facebook that she had been receiving threats and feared for her life.
“Can’t stop my tears at the loss of this beautiful soul. She had a loud voice, & actively raising voice for her people. In this Facebook status she says she’s threatened & she says she she trusts her Allah & that a strong woman isn’t scared of death. RIP Mina Mangal,” Frogh said in a post on Twitter.
Mangal, herself a staunch supporter of women’s rights to education and work, had recently become a cultural commission of the Afghan parliament. One of her colleagues, member of parliament Shagufa Noorzai, said that her death was part of a pattern of women targeted in Kabul’s streets.
“#Farkhunda was burned to death, #BabyMahsa was kidnapped, raped & killed, #BibiAyesha nose was cut, Women got stoned and today #MinaMangal shoot 9 times. All these crimes took place mainly during the day & mainly in the green zone capital city of #Kabul. #StopKillingWomen,” Noorzai tweeted.
A journalist at Lemar TV, another channel where Mangal had worked, said that it was time for female journalists to be protected.
“So sad to hear, Journalist& Advisor to the Parliament #MinaMangal assassinated today in Kabul by unknown person. She was a strong self made woman; RIP #Mina. She isn’t the 1st and wouldn’t be the last lost(unfortunately). Serious protection 4 female journalists! Is what we need,” Zalma Kharooti said on Twitter.
In addition to Lemar TV, Mangal also worked for Tolo TV, Afghanistan’s largest private broadcaster, and Shamshad TV, a competitor.
Journalists have become increasingly targeted in Afghanistan in recent years, with 13 killed in 2018 alone – the most in any one year there, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 48 journalists were killed in Afghanistan between 1994 and 2018.
Ehsan Popalzai reported from Kabul, CNN’s Jennifer Hauser from Atlanta and Eliza Mackintosh from London.