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. ma & pa

    There is more than one religion or ideology that has at its core 'Submit or Die', however disguised or sugar coated. The good Thought to stay by is the one that keeps you free to do all the good you can do.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Biased

    Sometimes you need to clear the entire slate clean and start over. We can not bring Western Democracy and ideology to the Middle East. We would have a better chance convincing the Tea Party to vote Democrat. No, the only way to "save" the Middle East is to wipe it clean and start over.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sydney

    These comments are a great example of how the liberals think in trying to bring this country down to their level ??? Hard to believe that anyone with a sane mind could say the things that these demented gay lovers say ???? They like what two men do in bed when we all should understand it is an awful, filthy, demented, selfish, un natural, act that brings shame on our society and humans in general. Just think about this act a little and you will also come to the same conclusion about it being a terrible destructive activity that has no good quality or redeeming value ??? Or, maybe these people don't know what happens between two gay men ?????? Surly they must not know and still say it is O. K. ????

    October 19, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. freshnewblog

    Sounds like something my parents would have tried to do. I feel very sad for this young woman.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    We can only hope that Islam fades with time. It's gonna take a long time but I believe one day we will be rid of all religeon and the world will be a better place for it.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
    • crabman

      you must be new to this planet

      October 19, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Everything will be illuminated soon enough

    it would seem most muslims are nothing more than conservative-thinkers, who champion self and not others. An extremist conservative or liberal psychology is not good for the planet, the trick is to find balance and stay away from extreme forms of either.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    This has nothing to do with Muslim vs. Christian, or religion at all. The Afghan culture has simply produced some of the worst people in modern history. They cannot be democratized, because they are backwards by thousands of years. They don't belong in this world, and no amount of politics will force them to catch up.

    Take all Afghan children away from their parents to other countries, and sterilize the adults. Let them all die off, then recolonize.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. Realityblowz

    It may be best to just nuke the entire Middle East, for purely humanitarian reasons.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. crabman

    just leave them alone they will just kill each other off

    October 19, 2012 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bleh64

    LOL, but any non-muslim countries are the infidels?.......yeeeaaaahhhh mmmm'kay!!!

    October 19, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. jamesnyc

    and to think we banned cluster bombs.
    This is why we have to wipe out the Taliban. This is why Islam has to own up to its rabidly sick brothers and sisters that would allow this kind of culture.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. EmcK

    So tell me . . . if the Bush taxcuts created jobs and helped people . . . why was the country shedding 700,000 jobs per month when he left office?

    October 19, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. angryersmell

    Get our troops home for good, never go back, wall this country up and let them do whatever they want. We need to let them sort whatever this is out themselves. Either sanity will prevail and they'll get rid of the backward cultural artifacts that drive this sort of thing, or the crazies will win out and they'll keep doing whatever it is they think they're doing to each other.

    FYI: God has nothing to do with your honor, that's you caring about what your neighbors think; a decidely Earthly and unholy pursuit known everywhere else on Earth as "pride".

    October 19, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
    • kl;qsdjhsdklfjsffjklqsdgfqsk

      invade the country, allow all women there a chance to leave and come to America or go to the country of there choice, then leave and let them have at it with there satanic ways.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • eric

      I say we nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      I agree completely. I am a firm believer in a policy of containment. Seal the borders, cut them off from the world until they are ready to join the civilized world.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Krenz

      How in the world can women be helped out of this situation, when it is women themselves who commit such atrocities to one another?

      October 19, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      A cowardly response. Screw all the innocent victims in this country. You are weak and pathetic.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    This is yesterday's news people, move on...

    October 19, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • John W.

      You're a heartless c r e t i n. Move away.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • paulbrownandthekd

      So she did end up giving head.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Tengu

      Reply to paulbrownandthekd
      Plus 1 internets to you sir! You made coffee come out of my nose laughing...Happy Friday!

      October 19, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. nihalsam, switzerland

    It's about time the rest of the world got out of this place and left these barbarians to themselves. Enough is enough!

    October 19, 2012 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
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