KABUL, Afghanistan - Author Sushmita
Banerjee, whose dramatic memoirs
about marrying an Afghan man and
escaping the Taliban were turned into
a Bollywood movie, was shot dead
outside her home on Thursday.
Shah Wali, head of the Afghan Police
Criminal Investigation Department for
the eastern province of Paktika,
blamed the Taliban for the killing.
Wali said that militants came to the
Indian-born author’s home, tied up
her husband and other family
members, then took Banerjee outside
and shot her repeatedly.
Dawlat Khan, chief of the local police,
said that over 20 rounds were fired
into her body, concentrated mostly in
the head. Early reports indicated her
attackers disposed of her body at a
Banerjee, 49, had been an outspoken
critic of the Taliban. She wrote "A
Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife,” which
chronicled her daring marriage to an
Afghan businessman and her struggles
during Taliban rule in the 1990s.
The book was a best-seller in India,
before being turned into the
Bollywood movie "Escape Fearing for her life, she fled
Afghanistan in 1995 and only recently
returned to be with her husband,
News of her death rocked her
community in the provincial capital
city of Kharana, where she worked as a
health care provider. One neighbor,
Sayeed Kamal, described her as "very
helpful to our women", adding that
had she had converted to Islam.
In accordance with Muslim religious
tradition, Banerjee was buried
immediately after Thursday’s attack.
Several prominent women have been
the target of violence in Afghanistan in
recent weeks. Female senator Roh Gul
Khairzad and her husband were
injured and their daughter killed in a
highway ambush in Ghazni province.
A separate kidnapping incident
involving female lawmaker Fariba
Ahmadi Kakar and her three young
children occurred days later, during
the Muslim holiday of Eid.
Taliban officials did not respond to
requests for comment but Zabiullah
Mujahid, spokesman for the east and
north of Afghanistan, told local media:
''We checked with our local Taliban
fighters in the area and they also
heard the reports and allegations that
the Taliban were behind the
assassination of this woman who had
converted to Islam. But this is the
enemy's propaganda that is blaming us
for killing a woman.''