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Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 17:11 UK

Afghan policewoman is shot dead

Policeman in Afghanistan
Police are often targeted in Afghanistan

Insurgents in Afghanistan have shot dead a policewoman for the first time, police say.

The 26-year-old woman was walking home from work in the western city of Herat when two gunmen on motorcycles shot her several times, killing her instantly.

Herat's police chief told the BBC that a nearby police patrol pursued the gunmen and both are in custody.

No group has said it carried out the attack. There are about 100 policewomen in western Afghanistan.

They often inspect female suspects and search homes when a man's presence would offend cultural sensitivities.

Human rights monitors say women in Herat have been subject to attacks in the past few years.

This is seen as a backlash against local groups which have formed to push for women's rights since the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

Violence

The death of the policewoman on Monday came only hours after a suicide attack in Herat.

The bomber had apparently been attempting to target an international convoy but instead killed four Afghan civilians.

Meanwhile, officials in the eastern province of Paktia said international forces had killed at least 15 insurgents in air strikes after the militants attacked a government building.

The officials said most of the dead insurgents were foreigners.

Nato said two of its soldiers had been killed in separate incidents - one, a Briton in southern Helmand Province, and the other in the eastern province of Nangarhar, whose nationality has not been announced.


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