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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Six held over Afghan radio murder
Daughters and relatives of Ms Zaki weep by her coffin
Daughters and relatives of Ms Zaki weep by her coffin
Six people have been arrested in Afghanistan in connection with the killing of a woman who owned a radio station, a top official has said.

The director of anti-terrorism operations said there was firm evidence linking them to the murder of Zakia Zaki at her home in Parvan province.

Abdul Manan Farahi said the suspects also came from Parvan province.

He said they were suspected of links to Hezb-e Islami, a guerrilla group headed by veteran warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Hezb-e Islami is fighting the Afghan government and foreign forces independently of the Taleban.

'Too sensitive'

Zakia Zaki's murder came just days after a woman newsreader was killed for reasons which were described as "family-related".

Mr Farahi declined to speculate on any motive for Ms Zaki's murder.

Zakia Zaki (Photo: IRIN www.irinnews.org)
Ms Zaki (centre) was a rare female voice in Afghanistan (Photo: IRIN)

He said that he could not give further details because the matter was "too sensitive".

Zakia Zaki was shot seven times, including in the chest and head, as she slept with her two young sons in the early hours of Wednesday.

Although six people have been arrested, eyewitnesses say three gunmen broke into her house and killed her.

An older son, aged three, was with her at the time of the attack, but none of her six children was injured.

Zakia Zaki was 35 years old and worked as a reporter and a schoolteacher.

She was one of the few female journalists in the country to speak out during the Taleban's rule and also criticised the former mujahideen.

Journalists protest in Afghanistan

Zakia Zaki had headed the US-funded station, Radio Peace, since it opened after the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

She started her radio career eight years ago. At the time Parvan province was one of the few areas in the country to be controlled by anti-Taleban forces.

The Independent Association of Afghan Journalists condemned the murder, describing it as an example of how difficult the working environment had become for journalists and especially for women.

The killing came days after the shooting dead of another Afghan woman working in journalism, a 22-year-old newsreader from a private television station, Shakiba Sanga Amaj.


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