By RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan
May 11, 2019
KABUL — Afghan officials say prominent former television journalist Mena Mangal has been shot dead in Kabul.
Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Raimi said Mangal was shot dead in Kabul’s 8th district early on May 11 as she was waiting for a car.
Witnesses to the shooting near Kabul’s Karte Naw market told RFE/RL that two men appeared on a motorcycle and fired four shots into the air to disperse passersby. They then fired two shots that hit Mangal in the chest.
Mangal’s relatives confirmed that she had been waiting for a ride to take her to her job as a cultural adviser to the Wolesi Jirga, the lower chamber of Afghanistan’s parliament.
The gunmen then fled the scene.
Police spokesman Ferdows Faramarz told RFE/RL that “all aspects of the case” were under investigation, adding that Mangal’s father had named a possible suspect.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing.
Mangal worked for more than a decade as a presenter for the private Ariana TV, the private TOLO Pashto-language television channel Lamar, and the private national television broadcaster Shamshad TV.
She also ran popular social-media pages that discussed the rights of Afghan women to work and for Afghan girls to go to school.
Mangal had written extensively about being forced into an arranged marriage in 2017 and the process she had to go through to obtain a divorce, which was confirmed in early May.
Mangal had posted recently on her social-media pages that she was receiving death threats from unknown sources.
Relatives told RFE/RL that there were “problems” with her former in-laws.
Police spokesman Raimi said a special police unit was investigating Mangal’s killing.
Raimi said Mangal’s assailants escaped from the scene after the shooting.
Afghan Taliban leaders have said at recent peace talks with U.S. negotiators that they are no longer insisting on their notorious ban against girls’ education and employment for women.
But Afghan women’s rights activists are wary about that claim and have expressed concerns that a peace deal with the Taliban could foster a return of Taliban-era repressions.