Afghan official: Women's rights activist shot dead in north




KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - An Afghan women's rights activist was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in northern Kapisa province Thursday, an Interior Ministry official said.

Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said Freshta Kohistani was assassinated by unknown gunmen in the Kohistan district of Kapisa. Kohistani's brother was wounded in the attack, he said.

Kohistani, a former provincial council member, organized protests and raised awareness on social media about violence against women in Afghanistan.

The attack was the latest amid relentless violence in Afghanistan even as Taliban and Afghan government negotiators hold talks in Qatar, trying to hammer out a peace deal that could put an end to decades of war.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, but the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks in Kabul in recent months, including on educational institutions that killed 50 people, most of them students.

Violence in Afghanistan has spiked even during Taliban and Afghan government peace negotiations, which began in September. The talks, after some recent procedural progress, have been suspended until early January and there is speculation the resumption could be further delayed.

At the same time, Taliban militants have waged bitter battles against IS fighters, particularly in eastern Afghanistan, while continuing their insurgency against government forces and keeping their promise not to attack U.S. and NATO troops.

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