Female parliamentarian kidnapped in Afghanistan

06A female member of Afghanistan’s parliament has been kidnapped by the Taliban in the latest of a string of insurgent attacks against prominent women.

By Rob Crilly

Provincial officials in Ghazni said Fariba Ahmadi Kakar was abducted on Saturday when she was driving with her three daughters from Kabul to the southern province of Kandahar.

Her kidnappers are demanding the release of four insurgents held by the government, they said.

Mrs Kakar’s children were later freed in an operation involving Nato forces and Afghan intelligence.

She is one of 69 women in the 249-seat lower house of parliament.

Her abduction comes as campaigners fear that hard-fought freedoms for women in Afghanistan – often hailed as success for the Nato-led international forces – are unravelling.

Last month, the most senior policewoman in Helmand province was shot dead as she travelled to work.

And a former parliamentarian, Noor Zia Atmar, has described how she is forced to live in a shelter for battered women after her husband became abusive.

Insurgents in Ghazni last week also ambushed the convoy of a female Afghan senator, seriously wounding her in the attack and killing her 8-year-old daughter and a bodyguard, officials said.

Senator Rouh Gul Khirzad’s husband, son and another daughter were also wounded in the attack in the Muqur district of Ghazni.

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