NEWSFLASH: Afghan Women’s Rights Leader Assassinated

The director of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in the Laghman province of eastern Afghanistan, Hanifa Safi, was assassinated on Friday. A magnetic bomb, attached to her car, exploded as she left her home with her husband and daughter, both of whom were critically injured.

Safi, a leading Afghan politician, was a longtime advocate of women’s rights in the religiously conservative Middle Eastern nation. Appointed in 2008, she was known in her local community for going out without a head covering–an offense that may have made her a target for a Taliban attack.

No group has yet come forward to claim responsibility for the attack. Sarhadi Zewak, a spokesman for the province, pointed a finger at “enemies of the people,” a term Afghan officials frequently use to describe insurgent groups such as the Taliban.

Though the Afghanistan women’s affairs ministry was born just a decade ago, Safi’s death marks the second killing in its short history. Taliban attackers shot to death Safia Ama Jan, the head of the Kandahar bureau in 2006.

Safi’s murder is the latest in a series of violent attacks against women in Afghanistan, including the public execution of a 22-year-old woman accused of adultery. There is increasing concern among the international community that the hard-won advances gained in women’s rights since toppling the Taliban in 2001 will erode as the Western presence in Afghanistan ends.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.


  1. My thoughts are with the family of the deceased, and the people of Afghan and all of us around the world who wish to empower women and girls. There are so many entities seeking to curtail our rights, but primarily those of women and girls. Toni Morrison once said, “Name and recognize fear but never stand in awe of it.” We must not back down for the work that we all do each day, no matter how risky.

  2. hese magentic bombs are the most common assassination tool the Iranian regime uses . They tried to assassinate Saudi officials in Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Pakistan usingthe same magnetic tools, the nuclear cscientists that leaked information were also killed the same way by mullahs then blamed on Israel and the US, many politiciansin Iraq and lebanon assassinatedthe same way by Iran backed Shia terrorists and I believe Iran mullahs hired Islamist Taliban to assassinate the women rights minister
    The biggest threat to mullahs regime inIrn is not foreign military, it’s freedom and democracy. If human rights in Afghanistan start to see progress that would inspire many other people and specially the Iranian people will bemore motivated to topple the dictatorship.

    That’s why mullahs did their best to turn Iraq and afghanistan into chaos and civil war

  3. Can we PLEASE, please, tone down the US imperialist rhetoric for half a minute here? There is no proof, no sign that it was the Taliban. The current, US-friendly prime minister Karzai and his party were, before Taliban rule in the 90s, just as misogynistic and sexist as the Taliban. Can we please pretend we actually care for Afghan women, without making every death a tool for the American agenda in the region? Can we please wait for info, claims and proof before we once again use women and women’s rights and women’s bodies as an excuse for imperialism?

    Allow me also to be sceptical about the extent the US cares about women’s rights, Hillary included. War in Afghanistan and Pakistan is only making stuff worse for women there.

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