Mursal Nabizada: ‘Trailblazing’ former female Afghan MP shot dead in her home

A former female member of parliament in Afghanistan has been killed along with her bodyguard by unknown assailants in an attack on her home.

Mursal Nabizada, one of the handful of female parliamentarians in Afghanistan before the Taliban took over the country in August 2021, was found dead at her residence in Kabul, local police said.

While most female politicians and social workers fled the country after the fall of Kabul to the militant group, Nabizada, 32, was one of the few who chose to stay.

Kabul police chief Molvi Hamidullah Khalid said on Sunday that Nabizada and her guard were shot in the same room at about 3am on Saturday and a “serious investigation” has been initiated.

He said her brother and a second security guard were injured. A third security guard fled the scene with money and jewellery.

“Nabizada, along with one of her bodyguards, was shot dead at her house,” Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said.

“The security forces have started a serious investigation into the incident,” he said.

Nabizada died on the first floor of her home, which she used as her office.

Mr Khalid said investigations were underway, however, nothing was said about the possible motives behind her assassination.

Her death comes amid an intense clampdown on women’s rights in the country as the Taliban bans girls from education and employment opportunities.

This is the first time an MP from the previous administration has been killed in the city since the takeover.

A former colleague of Nabizada in Afghanistan’s parliament, Mariam Solaimankhil wrote in a tribute on Twitter that she was “a true trailblazer – a strong, outspoken woman who stood for what she believed in, even in the face of danger”.

“Despite being offered the chance to leave Afghanistan, she chose to stay and fight for her people. We have lost a diamond, but her legacy will live on. Rest in peace.”

Abdullah Abdullah, a top official in Afghanistan’s former Western-backed government, said he was saddened by Nabizada’s death and hoped the perpetrators would be punished.

He described Nabizada as a “representative and servant of the people”.

Hannah Neumann, a member of the European Parliament, said: “I am sad and angry and want the world to know!” in response to the killing.

“She was killed in darkness, but the Taliban build their system of gender apartheid in full daylight.”

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“She stayed in Afghanistan. She did not leave after the Taliban took over the country,” Sara Wahedi, an activist, wrote. “Afghanistan is hell on earth for women.”

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Nabizada was elected as a member of parliament from Kabul in 2018 and stayed in power until the Taliban takeover. Born in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Nabizada served at the parliamentary defence commission and worked at a private nongovernmental group, the Institute for Human Resources Development and Research.