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Senior Afghan Policewoman Shot, Hospitalized


LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan -- Afghan officials say gunmen have shot and seriously injured a female police officer in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, just months after her high-profile predecessor was murdered.

Omar Zawak, spokesman for Helmand’s provincial government, says the officer, identified as Nigar, was walking near police headquarters in Lashkar Gah on September 15 when she was shot by gunmen on a motorcycle.

She was rushed to a nearby hospital.

"One of our top police officers in Helmand, Nigar, was shot today by two unknown gunmen while she was on her way to the office," Omar Zhwak, a spokesman for provincial authorities in Helmand, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan. "Both assailants managed to escape. She had been immediately admitted to the provincial emergency hospital, and we have been assured she is recovering."

Nigar has worked for seven years as a criminal investigator in Lashkar Gah.

She became the highest-ranking female police officer in Helmand Province after her predecessor at that rank -- Islam Bibi – was murdered in July.

The killing has focused attention on the dangers faced by Afghan women who take on high-profile public roles.

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan