The organisation of expatriate Afghans in Kolkata — Pashtun Zirga-e-Hind — Sunday claimed that it was actually the Pakistan Taliban which killed city-based author Sushmita Banerjee.
Banerjee, 49, whose book Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou (A Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife), which was based on her experience of marrying an Afghan during the Taliban regime in that country, had stirred up a hornet’s nest, especially among the Muslim fundamentalists.
She was killed on September 4, 2013 at her in-law’s house in Afghanistan’s Paktika province. Though the Taliban in Afghanistan had initially denied its involvement, a splinter group later claimed the responsibility.
But Yasmin Khan, great-granddaughter of freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (also known as Frontier Gandhi), told The Indian Express: “Some people from that country (Afghanistan) met me recently and told me that she was actually killed by the Pakistan Taliban. A small group of this organisation had sneaked into Afghanistan with the mission to kill her. Sushmita was doing a lot of philanthropic work in that region which involved creating awareness among women, giving medical help and spreading education among them. The Pakistan Taliban noticed this and decided to eliminate her as they were opposed to all kinds of development. I believe this information is absolutely correct,’’ said Khan, who is a senior leader in the organisation comprising Pakhtuns (inhabitants of North Western Frontier Province now in Pakistan) living in Kolkata.
Khan, who is involved in several social services, has set up a school in the name of her great grandfather, in Kolkata. It is believed that the city’s Afghan community was never happy with Banerjee after she married the Afghan businessman, Jaanbaaj Khan, and migrated to his country in the early ‘90s.
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She later fled form there and wrote the book, which was later made into a film (Escape From Taliban) by Ujjwal Chatterjee, starring Manisha Koirala. She was even physically assaulted by an Afghan youth during her stay in Kolkata, sustaining injuries. Her husband Jaanbaaj, meanwhile, continues to live in his home country.