Unknown Assailants Shoot and Kill Female Police Officer in Afghanistan

Unknown assailants shot and killed a top policeman in Southern Afghanistan Sunday, in the latest attack against Afghan women in positions of power.

1st Lt. Negar, who worked in the Helmand province's criminal investigation department, was outside her house when she was shot in the right shoulder by two gunmen, according to a spokesman for the governor of Helmand province. Negar — who had recently drawn public attention to the need for more female officers in Afghanistan (as it stands, only 1 percent of the police officers in the country are women) — was, according to officials, one of the most successful females on the force.

"She was the top when it comes to the female police force in Helmand. She has also worked during Dr Najibullah regime in Afghanistan," a spokesperson for the Kandahar government told Al Jazeera . "She was considered the most effective female police commander in the province and she believed her duty was the most crucial and most important for women in Helmand Province."

In July, Negar's predecessor, Islam Bibi, was also shot and killed by unknown attackers, soon after telling journalists that even her own family members had threatened her over her job. Negar had been getting similar warnings via phone calls from people who claimed to be with the Taliban.

"She didn't have any threats from her family, friends, relatives or siblings but insurgents and extremists are against the women rights and women's independence in the country," the governor's spokesperson said.

Soon after Bibi was murdered, Negar spoke on the radio about the dangers faced by Afghan women who choose high-profile positions of authority.

"This is Afghanistan," Nigar said. "Fighting has been going on for 30 years in this country. [Dangerous things] happen. Either you die or live on. We are not afraid of death."

The Taliban haven't as of yet claimed responsibility for the killing, but they are thought to have instigated many of the recent attacks on women. As recently as a few weeks ago, the Taliban freed a female government official, whom they'd kidnapped and held hostage for almost a month, in exchange for seven detained militants.