U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned an attack on Afghan politician Zarifa Ghafari, who received an award as a woman of courage from the U.S. State Department just a few weeks ago.
Pompeo called the attack earlier this month on Ghafari, the mayor of Maidan Shar in conservative Maidan Wardak Province, “cowardly.”
“The future of Afghanistan lies with those who seek peace and political solutions, not those who use violence and intimidation to threaten Afghan women,” he said on Twitter on March 24.
Ghafari told TOLONews that she was not hurt in the attack, which occurred on March 22 in Kabul when unknown gunmen opened fire on her vehicle.
“The gunmen fled after the shooting,” she said.
Ghafari was recognized on March 4 in Washington as a recipient of the State Department’s International Women of Courage Award.
Ghafari, a former journalist at a women-focused radio station, became mayor of Maidan Shar at the age of 26.
Despite constant death threats and being forced to flee an angry male mob on her first day in office, she stayed in power and tackled many of her town's problems.
"Despite death threats, Ms. Ghafari came back, defying her conservative critics and their narrative that a woman is unfit to lead," the U.S. State Department said.
Ghafari was appointed to the position in 2018, which was initially delayed by officials, and she did not start her tenure officially until March 2019.