05/07/2013 05:57 BST | Updated 03/09/2013 06:12 BST

Islam Bibi Dead, Helmand's Top Female Police Officer Killed In Afghanistan

Gunmen have shot dead Afghanistan's top female police officer.

Lieutenant Islam Bibi was targeted as she was being driven to work by her son on Thursday morning in Helmand's capital Lashkar Gah, AFP reports.

"She was shot by unknown assailants... She was badly wounded and taken to hospital, and later died in emergency care. Her son was also injuried," government spokesman Omar Zwak told the news agency.

islam bibi shot dead

Lieutenant Islam Bibi died after being shot on Thursday morning

The widowed mother-of-three had become a symbol of improving women's rights in the face of Taliban oppression.

The 37-year-old joined the police force nine years ago, despite fierce opposition from her family.

In April she told the Telegraph: "Firstly I needed the money, but secondly I love my country. I feel proud wearing the uniform and I want to try to make Afghanistan a better and stronger country."

She also revealed her brother had tried to kill her three times. "He came to see me brandishing his pistol trying to order me not to do it, though he didn't actually open fire. The government eventually had to take his pistol away," she recalled.

Bibi commanded a squad of around 35 female police officers

In February she told The Times: "I think the insurgents will not be too powerful. We want Nato to leave in 2014. God willing, and if Nato helps, it will be alright."

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