Sunday, September 28, 2008 CBC News
The most senior female police officer in Afghanistan was killed Sunday in a shooting in Kandahar city.
Supporters say Lt.-Col. Malali Kakar was a beacon of hope for women in Afghanistan. Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot Lt.-Col. Malali Kakar in her car as she was about to leave for work around 9 a.m. local time, officials said.
Her 18-year-old son, who was driving, was badly injured in the shooting. The Taliban claimed credit for her killing.
Ron Hoffman, Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan, extended sympathies to the family and friends of Kakar on behalf of his government and Canadians.
First female police detective
"Mrs. Malalai was well known for her staunch support of women in the Afghan National Police, and of the role of women in Kandahar society at large," he said.
"As the first female police detective in Kandahar following the fall of the Taliban, she served as deputy commander of the Kandahar city police department and was responsible for 10 female officers. She was a beacon of hope for women in democratic and free Afghanistan."
"Canada remains steadfast in our support for the rights of women, and our commitment to the people of Afghanistan," Hoffman said in a statement.
Kakar had been working as deputy commander of the Kandahar police department and headed a unit that specialized in crimes against women.
Her work angered Taliban insurgents, who frequently attack projects, schools and businesses run by women.
She received many threatening "night letters" and phone calls.
Kakar, her husband and their six children lived in a protected compound in Kandahar. And while she wore a regular police uniform at work, she wore a burka when she visited Kandahar's markets to avoid being recognized.
President condemns assassination
President Hamid Karzai condemned the assassination. The European Union also released a statement saying it was "appalled by the brutal targeting" of Kakar.
"Any murder of a police officer is to be condemned, but the killing of a female officer whose service was not only to her country, but to Afghan women, to whom Ms. Kakar served as an example, is particularly abhorrent," the EU said.
There are now more than 20 women in the Kandahar police force and 250 in the country as a whole, following in Kakar's footsteps.
Click to view image: '231982-BROWNKAKAR080928.jpg'
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