Afghan peace deal negotiator wounded in attack | Pakistan Today

Afghan peace deal negotiator wounded in attack

KABUL: Fawzia Koofi, a prominent women’s rights advocate and member of the Afghan negotiating team was wounded in an attack in Kabul by unknown gunmen, officials said on Saturday.

Officials described the attack on Koofi, a former lawmaker, as an assassination attempt. It was condemned by Afghanistan’s president as well as senior politicians involved in the peace process.

“I strongly condemn the assassination attempt on Ms Fawzia Koofi and call upon the government to identify and apprehend the culprits and possible motive for the attack,” Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said on Twitter.

A spokesman for the insurgent Taliban denied any involvement in the attack.

Koofi could not immediately be reached for comment, but a post on her Facebook page said her right arm was injured but, “Thankfully not a life-threatening injury!”

A government-mandated team is set to start long-awaited peace negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar’s capital Doha in the coming days once a prisoner release process is complete.

The United States has been attempting to broker peace talks to end more than 18 years of war after signing a troop withdrawal deal with the militant group in February.

Koofi is a staunch advocate of women’s and girls’ rights, starting her public career in 2001 shortly after the ouster of the Taliban by campaigning for girls’ education.

Human rights officials have raised concerns in recent months about senior civil society members being targeted in attacks.

Shaharzad Akbar, head of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, said there is a “worrying pattern of targeted attacks that can negatively impact confidence in the peace process.”