Taleban shoot dead Indian author Sushmita Banerjee in Afghanistan

KHOST, AFGHANISTAN (AFP) - Suspected Taleban militants shot dead the Indian author Sushmita Banerjee, writer of a popular book about her dramatic escape from the Taleban in the 90s, in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika on Wednesday night, police said on Thursday.

"We found her bullet-riddled body near Madrassa on the outskirts of Sharan city (the provincial capital) this morning," provincial police chief Dawlat Khan Zadran told AFP, confirming earlier reports from India's media.

Ms Banerjee, 49, was a fairly well-known writer whose book Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife, about her dramatic escape from the Taleban, was made into a Bollywood film in 2003.

Police on Thursday said the book may have been the reason militants targeted her, saying they had spoken with her husband.

"Our investigation... indicates that the militants had grievances against her for something she had written or told in the past, which was then turned into a film," the provincial police chief said.

"She had been shot 20 times and some of her hair had been ripped off by the militants," Mr Zadran said.

She was married to Afghan businessman Jaanbaz Khan and had recently moved back to live with him in the insurgency-hit Paktika province, reportedly to run a health clinic there.