Head of Scottish Refugee Council warns world needs to 'stop watching with silence' as former Afghan MP killed

The head of the Scottish Refugee Council urged the world to "stop watching with silence" the situation in Afghanistan following the death of former Afghan MP Mursal Nabizada.

Ms Nabizada, 32, who died along with her bodyguard on Saturday, was one of the few female MPs who stayed in Kabul after the Taliban seized power in August 2021. Sabir Zazai pointed to recent restrictions on women’s rights in the country.

He said: "First they banned women from education, then they denied women the right to work and now they're killing women in these abhorrent targeted attacks. The world must stop watching with silence this horror unfolding in Afghanistan."

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A second bodyguard and Ms Nabizada’s brother were also injured in the attack. Women were last month barred from working in charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) by the Taliban, including in humanitarian organisations, while other restraints include stopping girls from attending middle school and high school and, most recently, university.

A woman looks at a picture of former Afghan lawmaker Mursal Nabizada on her mobile phone, who was shot dead by gunmen at her house in Kabul. Picture: AFP via Getty Images

Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, women who wanted to work in any job had to be accompanied at all times by a male chaperone if they were required to leave the house. Females have also recently been banned from using public parks – an activity that was already segregated.

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said an investigation had been launched into the incident. He said: “Nabizada, along with one of her bodyguards, was shot dead at her house.”

Politicians paid tribute to Ms Nabizada, who was elected in 2019 to represent Kabul. She was a member of the parliamentary defence commission and worked at a private non-governmental group, the Institute for Human Resources Development and Research.

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," she said.

Abdullah Abdullah, a former top official in Afghanistan's former Western-backed government, said he was saddened by Ms Nabizada's death and hoped the perpetrators would be punished. He described her as a "representative and servant of the people".

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