October 18th, 2012
12:16 PM ET

Afghan woman slices daughter-in-law's throat for refusing prostitution, police say

[Updated Monday 11:30 a.m.] Afghan police now say that while the woman's throat was slashed, it was not fully cut off - and therefore was not technically a "beheading."

[Updated Thursday 12:16 p.m.] A young woman had her head chopped off for refusing to prostitute herself - and one of the killers was her mother-in-law, police say.

The other was the mother-in-law's cousin.  And both admit it, according to Afghan police.

To most people, the slaying of 20-year-old Mah Gul is unimaginable.

But it's just "one more incident that highlights the violent atmosphere that women and girls face in Afghanistan and the region," Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said Thursday.

The killing happened Sunday in Herat province, in southwest Afghanistan along the Iranian border.

Gul's husband is a baker.  When he left home for work, his mother and her cousin tried to force the young wife into prostitution, said Noorthan Mikvad, spokesman for Herat police.

When she wouldn't do it, they beheaded her, he said.

In a statement, Nossel said women and girls in the region "are raped, killed, forced into marriage in childhood, prevented from obtaining an education and denied their sexual and reproductive rights. Until basic human rights are guaranteed ... these horrible abuses will continue to be committed."

The U.S. State Department says some "Afghan women and girls are subjected to forced prostitution, forced marriages – including through forced marriages in which husbands force their wives into prostitution, and where they are given by their families to settle debts or disputes."

Some families even knowingly sell their children into forced prostitution, the State Department said, "including for bacha baazi – where wealthy men use groups of young boys for social and sexual entertainment."

Herat police say their investigation found that Gul's husband and father-in-law were not involved in her killing.

CNN has extensively reported on the abuse of girls and women in Afghanistan, a nation where under Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, women were banned from classrooms, politics or employment. Women who wanted to leave home had to be escorted by a male relative and were forced to wear burqas. Those who disobeyed were publicly beaten. In some parts of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, locals were encouraged to blacken the windows on their homes so women inside could not be seen.

The Afghan government, including a woman running for the presidency of the country, has tried to make it relatively easier for young women to go school. In 2004, girls were formally guaranteed a right to an education under the Afghan constitution.

Yet major problems persist and girls are in extraordinary danger in part of the country. They are terrorized walking to school. In 2009 in Peshawar, Pakistan, near Afghanistan, the Taliban issued an official edict mandating that no more girls should be able to go to school. That was after the Taliban had regained their stake in the control in the region after the 2001 invasion.

Girls and women's families sometimes abuse and kill them. In July, the Taliban executed a woman in public, justifying the killing by saying she had committed adultery.

In 2011, people around the world were appalled to learn about a then-13-year-old named Sahar Gul who had been married off to a member of the Afghan Army. Sahar said her husband raped her, and enraged that she didn't immediately conceive, her in-laws locked her in a basement for months. They tortured Sahar with hot pokers and ripped out her nails. Ultimately, she said, they wanted to force her into prostitution as punishment for failing her obligation as a woman.

Her face made famous on Time's cover, young Aesha had her nose and ears hacked off for running away from her husband's house. Aesha was brought to the United States. Her life continues to be hugely challenging as she's forever emotionally scared by the abuse she suffered.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • World
soundoff (1,034 Responses)
  1. keybo

    This is what a real "war on women" looks like, but no one seems to want to say that.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Shhhh...the liberals don't like it when you use their catchy phrases to show how out-of-touch with reality they are.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • noteabags

      I expected this to be in Texas or Florida. Conservatives are so pro death penalty to save taxes. What's the difference?

      October 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aja

      Exactly why we continue to move women's rights FORWARD in this country, not backward as the GOP would like to see. The more women sit back and just let men decide for them, the father back we will go. NO WAY. Equal pay, equal rights, EQUAL.

      October 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric the Commenter

      Yeah this will show those stupid Liberals!! They shuold be thankful that in the US women make less, can't choose if they want to give birth to a baby after an unexpected pregnancy, and can't always get the contraception to prevent it in the first place, among many other inequalities. The fact that us Conservatives aren't chopping off their heads makes all of that perfectly acceptable!

      October 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ScottIndependent

      Possibly true, but this doesn't mean we shouldn't look to both improve equal rights and opportunities for women within the US as well as engage in some course correction for misguided steps stemming from the women's rights movement. Also, addressing 'noteabags' reply, within our current legal system the costs are higher to execute someone than to keep imprisoned for life.

      October 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really

      How is it war on Women ? it was a women doing the act herself

      October 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • coconata

      The very same things that are denied women there – are denied women here. So one could say we in the US are, at least, doing our part to perpetuate this "war on women". If we deem reproductive rights a basic human right everywhere else in the world but consider it a privilege in the U.S. and/or worse, against our values as a nation and therefore something that can be denied and prohibited through national and state policies...then we're just being hypocrites aren't we? When the Taliban denies women reproductive rights and tells them what to do with their bodies, etc. they are called villains. When we do it we're called what exactly? Right? The doers of God's work? Seriously. And our outrage when a woman is shamed (which is the tactic most often used in the US) at most or maimed and killed at worst for not wanting to let anyone else dictate what they do with their bodies – becomes a sham when our own domestic policies are not comparable to what we consider basic human rights in the rest of the world.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • keybo

      Some of you responders must be very flexible to do the mental gymnastics required to state that women are denied the same rights in the US as under the Taliban, and to equate potential restrictions (not banning) on abortion to beheading someone.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    This story unfavorably depicts the peaceful religion of Islam. The US needs to withdraw from Afghanistan immediately and return it to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Little episodes like girls getting shot and beheaded are bumps in the road. Allah Akbar!

    October 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • OJ

      It does not matter if you fake being a Muslim to spread lies about us and say the entire 1.8 Billion people of this religion are like Taliban. Everyone knows you are not. Only those who never traveled outside their county would beleive you. Actually, it is probably just as bad in their county.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Badly-Bent

      Too late. Their stated goals now encompass the entire planet.

      October 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • bluesbaby911

      You are very sick. I suggest you clear your head by banging it against the wall until it falls off. It also means that Allāhu Akbar is greater than you, remember your place in this society.

      October 18, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Totoro

      Peacefully Islam? If you are kidding this is the best joke of the century. Look around the whole world. Everyone can see that those Ilsamists terrorists are killing civilians everyday. So, if you are not making a joke, you must be a blind person.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Richard

    And we are sending our young men and women to die for this country. We should let that country run its course. If the people don't have pride enough to rise up and rid their country of these criminals. I for one say lets spend our money and our blood on the goo ole US of A.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ThisWorldSucks

    All these people should be executed.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      spoken like a true american, kill everyone who isn't us, worked on the indian, worked against the slaves, worked for the north against the south, works all the time as long as your american.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • citizenUSA

      Your screen name says it all. People all over the world do horrible things every day. Granted, the Afghan culture has a ways to go.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Noshariaever

    Here we go again with the death cult.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SheWasChristian

    I hear this was a Christian family of Afghanis. Must be a common thing in Christianity. hmm.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • come on man

      @SheWasChristian
      huh........where in the world did you hear that? Sounds like an assumption to me......get all the facts before coming to a conclusion like that!

      October 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • U R No Romney

      "I hear this was a Christian family."

      And WHERE did you "hear" this from? Oh, you just made that up because of your hate. Got it.

      October 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike L.

      Many people profess to be Christians. But not everyone is a disciple of Jesus Christ.
      Man makes religion.
      One distinguishing characteristic of a follower of Jesus Christ is their love for God the Father and for people.
      The bible says, "If anyone says, "I love God" yet hates his brother, he is a liar, for anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
      The bible says that God is love. Since children act like their Father, those that are truly children of God will be acting like their heavenly Father.
      Don't believe what people say, rather, believe what they do. If a person professes to know and love God but they hate their brother, they are a liar.
      Again, many people people profess to be Christian but not everyone is a disciple of Jesus Christ. Not everyone is a believer.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Usual Suspects

      Did you hear that while waiting in line with the other prospective customers?

      October 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hypatia

    Desert death cult

    October 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Otaeifforc

    Not to be outdone by their male counterparts, the women in this land where civilization entirely forgot have joined the killing frenzy. I wonder how many of these barbaric and horrific incidents are not being reported. God help us all.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JC

    Islam is the best religion ever!

    October 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sayer

    My heart is heavy for her, but at least she died with her dignity intact.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. paulm5545

    "Herat police say their investigation found that Gul's husband and father-in-law were not involved in her killing."

    So...does that mean the husband and father-in-law are guilty of some ancient cultural code and the mother-in-law and her cousin will receive medals? What a backward civilization. Their entire country should (but isn't) be up in arms about this.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gol1ath

    Nice religion eh.... All women there needs to take their children and rebel against all men who thinks they can have their violent ways. The world will come to help, I promise you that, just make the first move.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Me

    Who cares...

    October 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I do ..

      October 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike L.

      I would like to add that God does too.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Aubrie

    Hope the son has the guts to prosecute his disgusting excuse for a "mother".

    October 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NorCalMojo

    ....while US women cry about binders and paying for their own contraception.

    "war on women" my hairy..........

    October 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
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