Top Afghan policewoman killed

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The Independent Online

Unidentified gunmen shot dead the most senior woman police officer in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, an official said.



Lieutenant-Colonel Malalai was killed in her car in an area of Kandahar city where she resumed her job as an officer after U.S.-led forces in 2001 overthrew the Taliban government which had barred women from most outdoor work.



She had led many police house searches in Kandahar leading to seizure of arms and drugs in recent years.



"Unknown gunmen from a car killed her when she was heading to her office," provincial spokesman Zalmai Ayoubi said, adding the motive behind the incident was being investigated.



Her son was wounded in the attack, witnesses said.



Officials have yet to comment about the killing of the 45-year-old Malalai who had survived several assassination attempts.



Kandahar is part of the main bastion for Taliban Islamists, but drug smugglers, criminals and some tribal rivalries have also contributed to some violence there.



Malalai's killing comes amid escalation of violence in Afghanistan this year, the bloodiest period since U.S.-led troops overthrew Taliban's government.



Separately, a raid by U.S.-led coalition forces killed three civilians in Asmar district of eastern Kunar province overnight, a provincial police official said, in the latest string of reports of civilian casualties in fighting in recent months.



The coalition confirmed the air strike saying it targeted an al-Qaeda roadside bomb and suicide bomber network responsible for numerous attacks in the Kunar region.



It said two militants were killed in the raid, adding it had no immediate information about civilian casualties.

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