Unidentified gunmen shot Zaki seven times after storming into the bedroom of her home north of Kabul, according to colleagues. Zaki’s six children were unharmed in the attack, which occurred near midnight. Her husband was not at home.
Zaki, 35, had launched Sada-i-Sulh, or Peace Radio, soon after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Sada-i-Sulh became a partner in 2002 with the U.S.-based media nonprofit Internews, which had seen several of its stations come under attack. She was also a prominent local leader who was critical of warlords and represented Parwan in the national tribal assembly. She had recently been warned by local warlords to shut down the station, Rahimullah Samander, head of the Afghan Independent Journalists Association, told international reporters.
Sada-i-Sulh was the only independent radio station in Parwan province. Under Zaki’s direction, it covered women’s issues, human rights, education, and local politics. Zaki had received several death threats over the years, and her staff had become accustomed to being harassed. Threats came from local community and religious leaders opposed to her political views and to the concept of a female station manager. Station staff and Internews colleagues said they were convinced that she was killed because of the stances Sada-i-Sulh had taken.