In the latest of a wave of assassinations that has gripped Afghanistan, two female judges were killed on Sunday by gunmen in central Kabul as they headed to work.

Identified as Zakia Herawi and Qadria Yasini by family members, the women were two of the 200 female judges employed by the Supreme Court of Afghanistan.

Their driver was also wounded in the attack, the Kabul police confirmed.

“I knew these women personally. Zakia jan was a close friend and colleague. I am very disturbed by her murder,” Advocate Najla Raheel, vice president of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association told The National using a term of endearment for her friend. “She was a kind and intelligent woman, and I don’t know why they would attack her.”

She said she knew of no prior threats against the women.

Although conferred the title of judges, the two women worked in the General Directorate of Research and Studies in the Supreme Court.

“We are confused and shocked as to why they were targeted. They were not involved in passing out sentences to anyone. They are problem solvers within the legal system,” Ms Raheel said.

“To find the depth of this problem is very hard, but it is clear that the Taliban is targeting women to reduce the influence of women in public spaces. They are also using these killings as a way to gain leverage in the ongoing talks. This is deeply concerning,” she added.

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