Malalai Kakar: Lest we forget



The assassination of Malali Kakar, Afghanistan’s most senior police officer, by the Taliban earlier today is a brutal reminder that, in the seven years since the “liberation” by invading US and British forces, Afghanistan has seen a steady erosion of womens’ rights. Yet it was the plight of Afghani women, recall, that galvanized support for invading that country post-9/11. Indeed, at the official end of the Afghan war  Laura Bush was among those who declared that one of the most important achievements in overthrowing the Taliban was the emancipation of women. 

Few were as emancipated as Kakar, a mother of six, who was  shot in the head leaving her house in Kandahar on her way to work. Her son, injured in the ambush, remains in a coma. Kakar knew she was a marked woman, having received death threats for months.  Other female activists have been murdered in recent years. One of Kakar’s closest friends, Safia Amajan, a prominent female-rights activist, was killed also on her way to work. Yet Kakar remained a fierce and courageous champion of women’s rights, heading up a unit that specializes in spousal abuse and other crimes against women which are on the rise in southern Afghanistan, as reported in a Marie Claire profile of Kakar last year. 

Canadian photo-journalist Lana Slezic took this iconic photograph of Kakar a few years ago; it’s included in Forsaken, Selzic’s important, harrowing book published last year that documents the lives of Afghani women who need advocates like Kakar.  After Amajan’s death, Kakar was interviewed by The Independent. With  typical defiance, she spoke of the Taliban: “These are the kind of people we are having to fight,” she said. “They hate any thought of women having freedom. None of us can be safe from such hatred.”




Malalai Kakar: Lest we forget

  1. Thank you for this.

    An unspeakably sad reminder of why it wasn’t a completely bad idea to go into Afghanistan in the first place.

  2. Jenn and Anne Kingston…

    Sorry to say–I only just arrived from a spirited (mostly) male discussion of Canadian politics that did not, for even a moment, stray from the proverbial “pi**ing contest”.

    I am a coward and I am ashamed. I cannot summon a fraction of Malali Kakar’s courage.

    What can I do? What CAN I do?

  3. What we can do is work to oppose the forces of conservative politics in the US. Reagan (and McCain) supported the establishment of camps in Pakistan where extremists were trained, calling them ‘mujahideen’ or ‘freedom fighters’. These people did get control in Afghanistan and called themselves Taliban. Indirectly, by a using simplistic uninformed approach, all the McCains of this world killed Malalai Kakar, and countless other Malalai Kakars trying to build a country. If you need evidence, just go through Time, Newsweek, or any other respectable publication from the late 1970s onward. Spread the news good people and stop McCain.

  4. If we had 1/4 of the courage and integrity this woman had our debate on the issue of whether we should be there helping her country would be very different! As a note I just read a small article from an interview with the Taliban that said that they do these murders deliberately in front the womans children so that they can create maximum effect – pretty well says it all about these guys.

  5. How demeaning to have a title like “Skirts” for a section on Women. There are no columns about men entitle “Pants.”

    I,for one, may never wear a skirt again. They are just too uncomfortable especially when sitting on a stage or a train or a subway, or when caring for children who may need to be lifted up, etc.

    I may also never again subscribe to Macleans. This article’s title is just icing on a bad cake. Too bad, because it’s not a bad article.

    Shame on MacLeans !

  6. Sol, I just noticed this section too. Lame. Why is this a woman’s post? Why do you think I wouldn’t be interested? Sheesh.

  7. Afghan History will not forget this women. This can show what the afghans are facing since 30 years.
    Afghan History will at the same time not forget their enemies and friends.

  8. On Youtube Al jazeera english channel, there is a documentary on Malalai

  9. iam admire malai kakar the most and i think we all should should educate ourselves to fight hunger and unrest.

  10. it's extremely saddening and humbling to realize, yet again, how much work there remains to do.

  11. Pingback: Malalai Kakar: Lest we forget – Macleans.ca | SOULILOQUY

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