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Bullets tore her face.. Activist killed in northern Afghanistan

Activist Frozan Safi has been shot dead in northern Afghanistan, in what appears to be the first such incident for a women’s rights advocate since the Taliban came to power in August, the Guardian reports.

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The body of 29-year-old Frozan Safi was identified in a morgue in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, after she went missing on 20 October.

Safi’s sister, Rita, a doctor, told the British newspaper “The Guardian”: “We recognized her from her clothes, bullets destroyed her face.”

Rita added: “There were gunshot wounds everywhere, on her head, heart, chest, kidneys and legs, to the point where it is difficult to count.”

Mirage Farooqi, a doctor there, said that on Thursday, Taliban security forces brought the bodies of two unidentified women shot dead to Balkh Regional Hospital.

For his part, the director of information and cultural affairs for the “Taliban” in Balkh province, Zabihullah Noorani, said that the bodies of two men were found in a house in Mazar-i-Sharif, who indicated that they were victims of a “personal dispute” and said that the police were investigating the case.

The deaths underscore the prevailing sense of fear in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, where a series of reprisal killings of people linked to the previous government has created an atmosphere of impunity and confusion.

Since mid-August, women have held regular nationwide protests against the Taliban, demanding the restoration and protection of their rights.

Human Rights Watch said Thursday that “Taliban rules ban most women from working as aid workers in the country, precipitating a looming humanitarian catastrophe.”

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Towards the end of last month, Rita said, Frozan received a phone call from an unknown number asking her to collect evidence of her work as a human rights defender and to leave for a safe house.

It made sense for her. Frozan thought her application for asylum in Germany was in progress, put some documents, including her university degree, in a bag, threw a black and white scarf over her head and left the house.

She was wary of pointing her finger at the Taliban. Rita added: “We do not know who killed her.” The father of the two sisters, Abdul Rahman Safi, 66, said that Frozan’s body was found in a pit not far from the city, and hospital workers registered it as unknown.

Zahra, a women’s protest organizer in Afghanistan, who spoke to the Guardian using only one name for security reasons, said she was with Frozan at the latest protest in Mazar-i-Sharif against Taliban rule.

Zahra, who did not reveal her name, added, “My WhatsApp has been hacked.

Source: “The Guardian”