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Afghan Poet is Killed

Originally published in:
International Herald Tribune

Carlotta Gall, The New York Times
KABUL Nadia Anjuman, who had been gaining a name for herself as a poet in Afghan literary circles, died over the weekend in the western city of Herat after being beaten by her husband, police officials said Monday.

The death of Anjuman at age 25 was lamented by colleagues and condemned by the United Nations as an example of the violence that so many Afghan women still face despite their advances four years after Taliban rule.

Anjuman was knocked unconscious by her husband during an argument Saturday evening, Colonel Nisar Ahmad Paikar, chief of the police crime unit in Herat, said in a telephone interview.

Her husband, Farid Ahmad Majid Mia, is in custody and has admitted hitting his wife and knocking her unconscious, Paikar said. Anjuman died later in a hospital, he said, adding that she had a dark bruise under one eye.

Anjuman, a literature undergraduate at Herat University, published her first volume of poems this year, entitled "Gule-Dudi," or Dark Flower. She was set to publish a second volume next year, said Sayed Haqiqi, a local journalist and colleague of Anjuman's in Herat's Cultural Association. Her husband, a graduate in literature at the same university, worked as an administrator on the literature faculty, he said.

A spokesman at the United Nations mission in Kabul, Adrian Edwards, called Anjuman's death tragic and a great loss to Afghanistan.

"You may recall that on 18 July this year, Yakin Erturk, the UN's special rapporteur for violence against women, stated here in this room that violence against women remains dramatic in Afghanistan- in its intensity and its pervasiveness," he said at a news briefing. Her death "needs to be investigated, and anyone found responsible needs to be dealt with in proper accordance with law."

Other violence continued in Afghanistan on Monday. A suicide bomber blew himself up in an attack outside a provincial government office in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. The governor survived unharmed, and no one else was injured, local officials said. The bomber appeared to be about 45 and did not appear to be an Afghan, but he died in a hospital without revealing his identity, said the deputy police chief of Helmand Province, Colonel Muhammad Ayub.