Indian author Sushmita Banerjee shot dead in Afghanistan
An Indian woman author who wrote a popular memoir about her escape from the Taliban has been shot dead in Afghanistan\’s Paktika province by suspected Taliban militants, police said Thursday.
Sushmita Banerjee, who was married to an Afghan businessman, was killed in eastern Paktika province.
Officials said militants dragged Banerjee out of her home, shot her multiple times and dumped her body near a religious school, where she was found early Thursday.
Banerjee, who was from Kolkata, India, wrote about her dramatic escape from Afghanistan in 1995. The book became the basis for the 2003 film Escape from Taliban.
Banerjee had recently moved back to Afghanistan to live with her husband, reportedly to run a health clinic for women. She was well known in the area for her work.
Banerjee, 49, became well-known in India for her memoir, A Kabuliwala\’s Bengali Wife, which recounted her life in Afghanistan with her husband Jaanbaz Khan and her escape.
She was the subject of the 2003 Bollywood film, Escape From Taliban.
Starring actress Manisha Koirala, the film described itself as a "story of a woman who dares [the] Taliban".
Banerjee also told her story in an article she wrote for Outlook magazine in 1998. She went to Afghanistan in 1989 after marrying Khan, whom she met in Calcutta.
She wrote that "life was tolerable until the Taliban crackdown in 1993" when the militants ordered her to close a dispensary she was running from her house and "branded me a woman of poor morals".
She wrote that she escaped "sometime in early 1994", but her brothers-in-law tracked her down in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, where she had arrived to seek assistance from the Indian embassy. They took her back to Afghanistan.
Banerjee\’s murder adds to fears that women\’s rights in a country where many are barely allowed outside the house will face setbacks after U.S.-led foreign forces fully withdraw in 2014.