An Afghan woman involved in negotiations between the government and the Taliban to end a 19-year war in the country was injured in an “assassination attempt,” officials said.
Fawzia Koofi, who is also a women's rights activist and a strong critic of the Taliban, was attacked late Friday afternoon near the capital of Kabul while she was at a market with her sister in the Qarabagh district, Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.
Afghan politician Fawzia Koofi speaks to media before the "intra-Afghan" talks in Moscow, Russia, in 2019. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Gunmen opened fire on Koofi and she suffered "minor injuries."
The head of the Afghan peace delegation, Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, tweeted that Koofi had survived the attack and was “in good health.”
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation said he strongly condemns the attack on Koofi and will "call upon the government to identify and apprehend the culprits and possible motive for the attack"
The delegation is gearing up for peace talks that could take place as early as Aug. 20 in Qatar, where the Taliban has a headquarters.
Negotiations on a mutual peace agreement that were supposed to begin in March have long been at a standstill. The Afghan government released 80 of the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners Thursday, paving the way for renewing talks.
Prisoner releases on both sides are part of a pact signed in February between the U.S. and the Taliban that called for freeing 5,000 Taliban held by the government and 1,000 government and military personnel held by the insurgent group as a goodwill gesture.
The U.S. peace deal aims to recruit the Taliban to fight Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, a mutual enemy. The Taliban and the Islamic State are staunch rivals.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack against Koofi and said “cowardly attacks on Afghan women activists will not stop their commitment to protect the values of the last 19 years in Afghanistan.”
No one immediately claimed responsibility. Both Taliban and Islamic State affiliates continue to carry out attacks against Afghan government figures, and the United Nations called Friday for the protection of human rights defenders in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.