Monday, May 13, 2019

Journalist and women's rights campaigner, Mena Mangal shot dead in Kabul

A prominent Afghan journalist and political adviser has been gunned down in Kabul, just days after she warned on social media that she feared for her life.

Mena Mangal was shot dead on Saturday morning in south-east Kabul. The attack, in broad daylight in a public place, prompted an outpouring of grief and anger from women’s rights activists, directed at authorities who had left her unprotected in the face of threats.

“This woman had already shared that her life was in danger; why did nothing happen? We need answers,” said Wazhma Frogh, an Afghan human rights lawyer and women’s rights campaigner. “Why is it so easy in this society [for men] to keep killing women they disagree with?”

Mangal had shared her fears in a defiant post on Face­book on 3 May. She said she was being sent threatening messages but declared that a strong woman wasn’t afraid of death, and that she loved her country.

Interior ministry spokesman Nas­rat Rahimi said unknown attackers had shot Mangal, and a special police unit was now investigating.

In a tearful video posted to Twitter, Mangal’s mother named a group of men as suspected killers, claiming they had previously kidnapped her daughter. The group were arrested for that abduction, she said, but later bribed their way out of detention.

Mangal made her name as a presenter on the Pashto-language channel Tolo TV, the country’s largest private broadcaster, and later worked for one of its key competitors, Shamshad TV.

Off-screen she was a passionate advocate of women’s rights to education and work, and had recently become a cultural adviser to the lower chamber of Afghanistan’s national parliament