For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 10, 2007
Mrs. Bush Condemns the Assassination of Zakia Zaki, Director of Peace Radio
I want to express my deepest sympathies, and those of the American people, to the people of Afghanistan and to Zakia Zaki's family. Zaki was murdered last week by gunmen reported to be supporters of the Taliban insurgency. The former director of Peace Radio--a private station in Jabal-us-Siraj, Afghanistan--Zaki leaves behind her husband and six children, including an infant son. Zaki is the second prominent female Afghan journalist to be murdered in a week.
I strongly condemn the killings and urge the free world, nations which love peace, to not only condemn the killings, but to use every ounce of their power to prevent them from happening in the future.
Zaki's brutal killing is a reminder of the threat terrorism poses to the most fundamental individual rights--including the rights to free speech, to a free press, and to equal dignity for women.
The oppression of women is central to the Taliban's vision for Afghanistan. In the weeks following September 11, Americans were shocked to see the images of Afghan women living under the Taliban regime--denied the right to work, the right to move about freely, and the right to be educated. As Zaki's murder shows, five years later, Taliban fighters still cling to their repressive worldview. They oppose the free exchange of ideas, and long to return to a time when girls could not attend school.
Today, however, women and girls are in classrooms throughout Afghanistan--democracy has brought about a more free and open society.
The American people stand with the people of Afghanistan and with Zaki's family. We are proud to support them in their efforts to build Afghanistan's new democracy, and to secure a more hopeful and peaceful future for the children of both our countries.
# # #