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. Boris

    These people are awesome!

    October 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tim

    These are not civilized people.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr774

      > Tim
      "These are not civilized people."

      I wonder why muslim is so riffe in the developing contries.
      I always think that when I read this kind of article.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Average Joe

      We civilized the american indian by kidnaping their children and force educating them. It worked.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tim

    These are the hearts & minds we are trying to win over?

    October 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Larry

    What happened was a tragedy. If the mother-in-law were in the USA I am positive she would be a Republican.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tulip

      Larry,
      I am positive the republican will not have anything to do with this case at all or any things to do with murder.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank Pierce

    Ok so, she doesn't have a head...is there a discount for an hour?

    October 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • dasfad

      Which side you want?

      October 19, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. dd

    No respect for human life! No respect for women! An Islamic extremist or Bill Clinton?

    October 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sean Johnson

    Ms. Crowley is going way too far on the binder stuff. The left is reaching for something here and it's just ridiculous. Come on! Can't you guys get serious about something? Let's go with real news.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOST

      The left wasn't reaching for this; it fell out into the open when idiots using social media pulled it out to make fun of it. I heard it too, but it didn't effect me the way it has others. Sometimes you have to use your own mind, but blaming any one political body is also just as careless. People will do anything for a laugh.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. givemeabreak

    Did you people read the story at all? Why throw in snide stupid remarks about politics. The story is about the brutal and horrible thing that happened to a young woman in a barbaric nation. Those sick people who do these things should be killed in the same way as their victims.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LOST

    These people can't be helped because they're too numb from war and infighting. Throw in a fascist religious tribal government, and voila: instant hell. The only way out is for the women to start killing the men from birth. The men won't allow the women to educate themselves (not even on personal care) because the men in that non-society are distrustful of one another. The only surety in their miserable lives is controlling and dogging others.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. gen

    wow what a nice country to live in

    October 18, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rastaman

    Obama is fully responsible for this because he always says "respect".

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

    givemeabreak said it, but I'll reiterate: turning this story into a political commentary is crude, rude and unconscionable. You are naval lint. I realize there are some people who have no tact or intelligence, at least they have an excuse. The political comments that are sincere are the ones that really make me worry about the people in THIS country.

    As far as this story goes, really, how can we do anything with mindsets such as this? We don't even have a great track record reforming car thieves, we're not going to have any effect on the hearts and minds of people stuck in a time warp. They're stuck 1000 years in the past and seemingly are content to be there - oh, except for the weapons...they love modern weapons.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Edge Design

    So many trolls...

    October 19, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  14. Arleen

    I'm shocked by the comments regarding this post. Defending the acts of other cultures and countries based on our social paradigms and religious beliefs/inclinations is difficult at best to define or articulate. From our framework, the act of beheading is beyond sick, cruel, and inhumane. Period. The frivolous and flippant comments here are also indicative of a form of inhumanity present in our society. Shame on your lack of consciousness, concern, and light response to this horror.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. taintright

    The most disgusting part of this heinous crime is that relatives of the victim didn't hesitate to sell/kill her off. Who needs enemies when you have that kind of family values. Absolutely psychotic society supporting international/global reasoning for wanting to nuke them.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
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