A woman whose memoir about life under Taliban rule was turned into a Bollywood movie was shot dead yesterday by suspected members of the Islamist militia, officials said. The killing of Sushmita Banerjee in eastern Afghanistan was the latest in a string of attacks on prominent women in Afghanistan. Militants dragged her from her home and shot her at least 15 times. Banerjee—who was from Kolkata, India—wrote A Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife. Published in 1997, it later became the basis for the 2003 film Escape from Taliban.
The book described how she met her husband in India and moved to Afghanistan as his second wife, only to find that life would become unbearable under the Taliban's oppressive rule, especially in regard to women. In an interview posted on India's Rediff website, Banerjee described trying to flee Afghanistan multiple times to get away from the Taliban, and how she was ordered executed as a result of her attempts. She made it back to India in August of 1995 and had since returned to Afghanistan. (Read more Sushmita Banerjee stories.)