Gunmen riding motorcycles shot dead the head of a women's department in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Monday, a security official and a relative said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting of Safia Ama Jan.
Taliban insurgents have killed numerous government officials as part of their war against the government and foreign forces supporting it.
Ama Jan was on her way to work, getting into a car outside her house, when the gunmen struck, said her nephew, who identified himself as just Farhad.
"She died on the spot," he told reporters.
Farhad declined to speculate on the identity or motive of the gunmen, except to say: "We had no personal enmity with anyone."
Ama Jan had served as the head of the province's women's affairs department since shortly after US-led troops overthrew the Taliban in 2001.
A security official said no arrests had been made and an investigation had been launched.
Kandahar was the Taliban's main bastion of support during the 1990s when the militia emerged from Islamic schools on the Pakistani border and swept to power in Kabul.
The province is at the heart of an increasingly vicious Taliban insurgency.