‘I am not afraid to fight’: the female Afghan colonel who survived the Taliban’s assassins

Saba Sahar, who returned fire while protecting her daughter, survived one of a wave of recent assassination attempts that have killed six policewomen

It was just after 7am when the car carrying Colonel Saba Sahar, one of Afghanistan’s most senior female police officers, came under fire from armed insurgents. In the back seat, Sahar’s four-year-old daughter began screaming as bullets shattered the windscreen and ripped into the upholstery. As she pushed her child under the seat in front of her, Sahar saw three men carrying AK-47 assault rifles, firing as they approached the car.

In the front of the car her bodyguard and driver had both been hit and were badly injured and unconscious. Looking down, Sahar saw blood seeping through her clothing. “It took me another moment to realise I’d been shot too,” she says. She knew that she only had minutes to try to save her daughter. “They were five or six metres away, and they were moving closer to the car, still firing. They would have killed my child,” she says. Bleeding heavily from five shots to her stomach, Sahar reached forward, grabbed the gun from her slumped bodyguard and started returning fire.

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