Zakia Zaki, the owner and manager of Peace Radio and a headmaster of a girls' school in Parwan province, was shot dead inside her home early this morning. Three gunmen fired seven shots before fleeing her home. Police have begun an investigation, but no motive has been determined. Rahimullah Samander, the head of the Independent Association of Afghan Journalists (IAAJ), condemned the murder, which illustrates the difficulties that reporters -- particularly women reporters -- face in Afghanistan. "She believed in freedom of expression, that's why she was killed," Samander said, according to the BBC.
Zaki has managed the station since its inception in October 2001, following the fall of the Taliban. According to the Middle East Times, Zaki was a critic of "warlords" during the anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s that led to Afghanistan's civil war. She spoke out against the Taliban during its rule and was involved in Afghanistan's recent reconstruction, attending the 2003 meeting to draft Afghanistan's new constitution. According to the BBC, the IAAJ reports that Zaki did receive threats but had no known enemies.
The murder of Zaki comes six days after another female reporter in Afghanistan, Shokiba Sanga Amaaj, was shot dead in her house. While the motive in Amaaj's murder has not been determined, police are exploring the possibility that it is "family-related," the BBC reports.