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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Qatar condemns killing of Afghan women judges

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No group has claimed responsibility for the attack carried out by two unidentified gunmen who shot the women judges as they were driving to work.

Qatar “strongly condemns” the attack on two Supreme Court judges in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday. The two female officials, who have not been named, were shot during their morning commute.

In a statement issued by Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Doha denounced the killing of the judges together with another female employee from the Afghan Ministry of Education who lost their lives in the deadly attack. 

Qatar also expressed its condolences to the families of the women and reiterated its firm position in rejecting violence and terrorism.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also condemned the attack, saying that “attacks by the Taliban and other terrorist groups against defenceless people are against Islamic teaching and against the spirit of peace.”

However, no group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack.

The incident has raised questions regarding the inter-Afghan peace talks as they prepare to resume in Doha.

“There are very few female judges in the country [Afghanistan], just under 200, so losing two in one incident is a big blow, but it should not deflect people’s attention from the bigger objective and that is achieving a ceasefire and peace,” Dr. Sultan Barakaat, Founding Director of the Centre for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Qatar, told Doha News.

Women’s rights were one of the key areas of discussion in the peace negotiations between the Afghan Government and the Taliban which took place in Qatar last September, several women activists and public figures participated at those talks in Doha.

“I don’t think anyone wants to negotiate women’s rights, women’s rights are granted, they’re accepted by all sides,” said Dr. Barakat. “This is a setback for women’s involvement and influence in the country,” he added.

Read also: Afghanistan, Taliban accept Qatar offer to mediate following escalations

In recent months, several government officials, journalists, and activists have been targeted despite the ongoing negotiations. Among the officials killed was Abdul Baqi Amin, director of the Scientific Council of the Ministry of Education, who was killed in August by an explosive device placed in his car. Amin was also part of the Afghan delegation that engaged in talks with the Taliban in Doha.

“They’re targeting I think activists who are calling for an end of conflict in the country,” said Dr. Barakat, adding that there seems to be a third party involved in the attacks that is placing hurdles in the way of the talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban.

“It is not in their interest, on either side, to raise the level of this sort of violence amongst civilians.”

According to Dr. Barakat, the negotiations are going to “reconvene very shortly” after the two sides decided to take a break from months of talks in Qatar.

“The two teams are now in Doha and we’re very optimistic that they will continue on the same track. The difficult aspect of deciding what goes on in the agenda and what the ground rules are for the negotiations have already been tackled over the break,” he said.

Qatar has been hosting the peace talks between the two sides and continued to be a key mediator between the Afghan Government and the Taliban to ensure peace and stability in Kabul.

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