Minutes before Mena Mangal, a prominent Afghan journalist and parliamentary adviser, was shot dead by two men in Kabul, she had left her parent’s home after reminding them to pay the neighborhood shopkeeper 15 Afghanis (20 cents).
“Mena never forgot her duty towards our home and work. After years of struggle she had achieved success and happiness,” said Anisa Mangal, Mena’s mother, told Reuters, as she sat surrounded by her husband, four daughters, a son, grandchildren at her two-story home in eastern Kabul.. “She did the right things … worked very hard to become a professional woman.”
No-one has been arrested over the broad daylight killing, but police officials said Mangal’s family had filed a case against four men, including her ex-husband. “These four people are on the run but the police are trying to arrest them,” said Kabul police spokesman Firdaws Faramarz.
Mangal’s mother believes it was her dedication to home and career that got her killed. She accuses her daughter’s ex-husband of involvement in the murder because Mangal would not give up her job and continued to appear on television.
Reuters was unable to contact Mangal’s former husband. Calls to family members went unanswered.
The brazen attack on Mangal has drawn widespread condemnation — including from US officials and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — and highlighted what activists say is the continuing plight of Afghan women, who still suffer high levels of sexual and domestic violence and discrimination.
Educated Afghan women, the torchbearer’s of a drive to improve women’s rights since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, say they still face hostility, be it from conservative family members or hard-line Islamist groups, for pursuing professional and financial independence.
Earlier this month, for example, the Taliban, launched a deadly attack on the head office of US-funded aid group Counterpart International in Kabul, citing the “intermixing” of women and men working at the site and its promotion of “western activities”.
At least nine people were killed and 20 were wounded in a siege that lasted for more than seven hours.
“The Taliban want to kill women who work with men. If I die, there will be no one to feed my parents and siblings,” said an Afghan woman who has worked at Counterpart for more than three years, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“If I sit at home will the Taliban come to pay the bills?”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said its fighters targeted Counterpart because it was funded by US aid agencies.
Women could study and work, he said, but the intermingling of the genders ought to be kept in check in Afghanistan. [Sourced from BBC]
Comprehension questions …
Q1. Where and when was Mena Mangal killed? What is her mother’s opinion about her?
Q2. What is known about the assailants?
Q3. What has been the international reaction to Mena Mangal’s murder?
Q4. How does the Taliban perceive women like Mena Mangal?
Q5. Describe the other murderous attack that Taliban staged recently?
Answers will be posted on May 24.
Q1. Mena Mangal was gunned down at a short distance away from her home. She was on her way to office. Her mother Anisha Mangal knew has Mena was as dutiful at home as she was in the office. She had come up in life the hard way and her mother was full of praise for her for this.
Q2. There were four assilants, one among them being Mena’s ex-husband. All four are on the run trying evade the police.
Q3. The international community is aghast as the cold-blooded murder. Officials of the United States, and the Canadian Prime minister have been unequivocal in their condemnation of the killing of Mena.
Q4.For the Taliban, women stepping out of their homes to work in mixed-gender work laces is anathema. They feel women should stay indoors and busy themselves in family chores only. They loathe the idea of women being educated and doing jobs.
Q5. Earlier this month, the Taliban staged a deadly attack on the aid organization Counterpart International for encouraging women to get educated and skilled for taking up roles at par with men. The attack left nine dead and 20 others maimed.