/ 20 October 2008

Taliban slay SA aid worker

Taliban fighters killed a South African female aid worker on Monday as she was going to her office in the western part of Kabul, officials said.

The attackers, who were riding on a motorbike, fled the area after the shooting, Interior Ministry spokesperson Zemarai Bashary said.

”She was a South African national and was working with an aid organisation that was helping disabled people in Afghanistan,” Bashary said, adding that she worked with Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises.

Officials from the organisation were not immediately available for comment.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack through its spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid, who said the Islamic fundamentalist former rulers of Afghanistan killed the woman because she was preaching Christianity.

”She was under pursuit for a long time and finally was punished today,” Mujahid said in a statement posted on a rebel website, adding that the perpetrators were able to escape.

Taliban militants, who were ousted from power in 2001 by a United States military invasion, have carried out similar attacks in the southern province of Kandahar.

Assassins on motorbikes killed a senior policewoman and a government official in Kandahar city in the past month.

A tribal leader and his son who had served as a bodyguard for President Hamid Karzai were also killed by gunmen riding on a motorbike in Kandahar city last week.

Aid organisations have restricted their movements in the country because of increasing attacks not only by Taliban insurgents but also by criminal gangs on their personnel and food convoys.

Three Western female aid workers and their Afghan driver were killed in a Taliban attack in an area outside Kabul in August. – Sapa