Female Afghan Government Worker Shot Dead

An 18-year-old woman working on rural development for the Afghan government was shot dead in the country's biggest southern city Kandahar on Tuesday, a local official said.

Rabia Sadat was killed as she left home in central Kandahar to go to work at around 8:00 am (03:30 GMT), provincial spokesman Zalmai Ayoubi said.

The woman had been working on a Western-funded project designed to boost the quality of life in Afghanistan's deprived villages by improving irrigation and the provision of drinking water, he added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Ayoubi blamed the killing on "enemies of Afghanistan", a phrase often used by officials to refer to insurgents.

The Taliban frequently target employees of President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed government.

There has been a string of high-profile killings in Kandahar in recent weeks, including the assassinations of the city's mayor and the president's powerful brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai.

The city is seen as the birthplace of the Taliban and is a traditional stronghold of the militant Islamists.

Before being ousted from power by the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, the Taliban banned women from attending school or working outside the home under their interpretation of Islamic law.

Source: Agence France Presse

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