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. Vampire8

    Thank God I left organized religion a long time ago. Gandhi said it best – In Heaven there is no religion...THANK GOD! Also, we have been fighting over there for so long and for what? As soon as we leave it will be the same as it was before we went in. I most certainly agree that we need to fight for human rights and help where we can. However, in this case we are just casting the pearls before the swine. We either have to greatly beef up our presence and actions there or get out. Not this mamby pamby half way of doing things.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Planet Kolob

    The GOP is just Taliban-lite for the USA.

    Same views on guns, abortion, womens equal pay, divorce, crime, justice, civil rights, gays, child molestation, cousin marriage...

    October 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Please remain on your "planet" kolob. Your obviously skewing the gene pool there.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Would you care to point out how, on any of those issues, they are remarkably different in their beliefs?

      October 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Planet Kolob

    Romney's cult says when I die, I could have killed ten thousand people and fornicated with the dead corpses, but posthumously, I will be re-baptized a mormon and if I then accept Joseph Smith and Elohim, I will become as a god and rule an entire planet, and I can fornicate with all the inhabitants.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. joe

    Are you kidding me?

    Are they a bunch of inbred, imbecile towel heads or what?

    October 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Douglas

    Islam, what a beautiful "religion". I have way more respect for an atheist.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Sadly, the "My god is better than your god" folks hate atheists most of all, because they realize they are completely defenseless against us in debates, because we have evidence and they have fairy tales.

      So they even like other violent extremists better than they like us!

      October 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Planet Kolob

    This just in- coke-addled, chain smoking, Republican tea party welfare queen mother of 65 children since age 12, kills all her kids and turns them into sausage- says they were disobedient, god "told her to do it" and that it was her right as a parent, and under a free market system, to sell sausage made of her children.

    Republicans laud the decision, saying it is "good capitalism."

    October 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Please identify ANY Tea Party welfare queens.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Mark, every evangelical family seems to have about 8 children, you think they don't take the tax credit for children?

      Some trailer parks are full of trailers with a nice big cross right out front, flags on every window, and ten half naked cousin-grabbing kids roaming around looking for a half empty bottle of beer.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NB

    Afghanistan: The land that time forgot. Saying that Afghanistan is only one step above the Stone Age would be an insult to the Stone Age people.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Michael

    People like "Planet" should just be pitied...not responded to, just pitied. Their lives are obviously pretty bad and they probably don't have any friends, seriously. Trolls should be pitied, but not responded to.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Planet Kolob

    Good solid conservative values!

    Why that disrespectful child refused a good honest days work contributing to help the family buy their chickpeas and hummus!

    October 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MashaSobaka

    A tragic example of what happens when religion is permitted to run amok. Women and girls are usually the first to suffer. This is why I only vote for politicians who vow to keep religion on a tight leash. Anyone who thinks that this couldn't happen in the US is kidding himself. Actually...anyone who thinks that this doesn't already happen in the US is kidding himself. Colorado City, anyone?

    October 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Planet Kolob

    I have read the book of Mormon, have you? Interesting that it also claims horses were in the Americas before the time of jesus, even though they were first brought here by Spaniards 1500 years later.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben rast

      Pretty much every religion has some silly sounding beliefs. Catholic doctrine holds that the priest transforms bread and wine into the literal blood and flesh of Jesus during the eucharist. Does that make Biden and Ryan cannibals? Christian teaching says that all animals descend from a single mating pair in some 6000 years, and that critical thinking was bestowed on people because the devil, disguised as a talking snake, convinced a woman to eat a magical apple. Does that make Obama any more or less capable as a leader? Discrediting a candidate because you don't like his religion is simply too easy and hardly relevant to his qualifications

      October 20, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Planet Kolob

    Get a job and take some personal responsibility, you welfare queens!

    AKA veterans, soldiers, seniors, and grad students...

    I saw one of those damn world war two veteran/hippies yesterday in a soup kitchen- why doesn't he get a real job? He refuses to take personal responsibility for himself! MOOCH!

    October 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Richard

    I thought once you were married you were safe in afghanistan, at least safe from this digesting........

    October 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. max128

    "Oh, you're home already? OK, sit down, son. We gotta talk. Sweetie, I had to kill your wife today cuz she wouldn't put out and I got bills to pay. Selfish b!atch was always thinking about herself. You ain't upset, are ya?"

    October 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Peace Pug

    These people are animals! They espouse religion and family tradition....I don't think any GOD of ANY religion would subscribe to this abhorrent behavior.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • rmoffatt

      I am always a bit amazed at those that purport to 'understand' and 'define' what a questionable 'ha shem' might think. Isn't this a bit egotistical? If, indeed, one believes in a higher being, how dare one take it upon themself to decide what that 'higher being' might think. Me, I just think folks are plain, old nasty. Utilizing your religious beliefs to justify your thoughtless approach toward your fellow man is a sad justification for poor behaviour.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
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