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Former Prominent Afghan TV Journalist Shot Dead In Kabul

Mena Mangal

KABUL -- Afghan officials say a former prominent female television journalist in Afghanistan has been killed in Kabul.

Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Raimi says Mena Mangal was shot dead in Kabul’s 8th district at 7:20 a.m. on May 11.

Shopkeepers who witnessed the shooting near Kabul's Karte Naw market told RFE/RL that two men appeared on a motorcycle while Mangal was waiting for a car.

The witnesses said a gunman on the motorcycle fired four shots in the air to disperse people in the market and then fired two shots that hit Mangal in the chest.

Mangal's relatives confirmed to RFE/RL that she had been waiting for a car to take her to her job as a cultural adviser for Afghanistan’s lower chamber of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga.

Photographs of the scene published by the website of Ariana News showed Mangal's body in the street, lying face down in a pool of blood.

Mangal had 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 against her will 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.

Raimi said Mangal's assailants escaped from the scene after the shooting.

He said a special police unit was investigating her killing.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

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.