Afghanistan: Taliban abduction left woman lawmaker 'even braver'

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Afghanistan: Taliban abduction left woman lawmaker 'even braver'		Afghanistan: Taliban abduction left woman lawmaker 'even braver'
SummaryKakar, though, was shifted from place to place and kept separate from her driver and bodyguard.

The Taliban kidnappers moved her to at least 13 homes, made her sleep on the ground, and kept asking where she'd been, what she'd done and whom she knew. Every few days, she would be given a chance to call her family.

Still, the militants would push her only so far - they knew they needed to keep their bargaining chip in good shape.

Fariba Ahmadi Kakar's four-week ordeal ended this month after the Afghan government gave in to her captors' demands to free some prisoners. In an interview with The Associated Press, the 39-year-old Afghan lawmaker gave a rare account of what it's like for a woman to be held captive by the Islamist insurgents.

''I wasn't tortured. I wasn't under constant stress. But I wasn't free,'' Kakar said.

She's also lucky to be alive. Since July, several prominent women have been attacked in Afghanistan. Among them: two police officers who were killed in the south, an Indian author living in eastern Afghanistan who was killed years after her memoir about 1990s life under Taliban rule became a Bollywood film; and a senator who was wounded in an ambush.

These and other attacks on female leaders in recent years have generally been blamed on the Taliban, though the Afghan militant group, mindful of cultural sensitivities, usually does not admit to targeting women. The assaults have added to growing fears that what few gains Afghan women have made since the U.S. toppled the Taliban government in 2001 could be erased once American-led foreign troops finish withdrawing next year.

Being a woman in the public eye is a special challenge in Afghanistan, where tribal and conservative Islamic mores have long subjected women across the social spectrum to violence and discrimination.

The spotlight can be a shield, making men think twice about mistreating a woman and perhaps even guaranteeing that she'll be assigned a bodyguard. At the same time, it can make a woman a more attractive target for insurgents hoping to spread fear and weaken confidence in the Afghan government.

Kakar is one of 69 female lawmakers in the 249-seat lower house of parliament, and she's never been naive about the danger she and other prominent Afghan women face. Still, her initial encounter with her kidnappers was so swift and shocking it's still something of a blur today.

Kakar, her four children, her bodyguard and her driver were traveling from southern Kandahar province

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