[JURIST] Afghanistan women's rights advocate and director of the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kandahar [Wikipedia backgrounder] Safia Hana Jan was killed by armed gunmen in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Monday. Local officials launched an immediate investigation into the attack, presuming it was coordinated by the local Taliban [BBC backgrounder] insurgency in response to Hana Jan's public critiques of the Taliban. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] promptly called [press conference] Hana Jan's death a "senseless murder" of a woman working to ensure equality. Regional Taliban commander Mullah Sadullah claimed responsibility for Hana Jan's death in a phone call to AP, but there was no way to verify the claim.
Hana Jan death follows several other high-profile killings of officials, including the recent murder of the governor of Paktia [CNN report], a southeastern Afghan province. IRIN has more. AP has additional coverage.