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. Franco

    What a sick society Afghanistan is.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ricky

    Let's bring our troops and use drones to contain the Taliban and other terrorists groups. Also, let's blockade the whole country, so no one else sales them weapons or buy their drugs. Then, let's let them kill each other. These people have been ruined by war and extremists, and now you would have to spend decades and trillions of dollars to civilize them. The US does not have that kind of money, so let's have the Europeans do it. After all, they are just as likely to get attacked by terrorists.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rogerr

    Radical Islam...religion of peace...

    October 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      All religions are barbaric, and this murder had nothing to do with their stupid religion.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sy2502

    Build a wall around Afghanistan, then withdraw all contact with that country. In a couple of million years we'll go check if evolution has run its course.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Norm

    So what? We all know that the REAL war on women is that they can't get free birth control.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. needNewGov

    Give us a few years with some of our radical GOP loons and we too can be like Afghan. It's starting slowly.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. timmaahhyy

    Happens there every day. Nothing we can do to change it. move on.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jez

    Ahhhh – Islam! The religion of peace. They are sooooo enlightened! A breath of fresh air!

    October 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TickTickTick

    Seems like it's Beheaded if you do, and Beheaded if you don't.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      Well, this had nothing to do with religion or local laws. This was the mother-in-law being a murderer because she considered her daughter-in-law to be her property and she wanted to profit out of her. Afghanistan is a messed up place.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dyler Turden

      Ah, the brainwashed neanderthal children if Islam.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ES71

      > Well, this had nothing to do with religion or local laws. This was the mother-in-law being a murderer because she considered her daughter-in-law to be her property and she wanted to profit out of her

      It has everything to do with local way. In these countries women are property. Turkey being about the only notable exception thanks to the secular beleifs of their founder Ata-turk.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tom Scott

    We're expected to take this mess and turn it into a democracy with a free-market economy? Sure, then we'll set up an infrastructure. Then we'll create jobs by setting them up with an automobile industry, an aerospace industry and heck how about a telecommunications industry while we're there. Then we'll have to set up a permanent army base there to keep the Taliban from destroying these things as quickly as they're built. OR. how about we just get the heII out and leave them in their 13th century ways. Why are we there anyway? To stop the Taliban from plotting anymore 9-11's? These beheadings, etc have been going on long before we came and will continue. Who are we to think the Afgani's want to become like us?

    October 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      This has indeed been going on for hundreds of years. Read Noor Barack's "How Fatima started Islam".

      October 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. buster

    The Afghanis are such beautiful, peace-loving people.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      Yeah, and Mitt Romney want our troops to stay there until they live in a democracy. Good luck with that!

      October 19, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Keel Hauler

    If it weren't for the kids, who have no control over where they're born or raised, I'd say neutron bomb that whole country (for starters.)

    October 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      Sad but true. the grown ups are all messed up already.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cameron

      what kind of logic is that?

      Even if you hear of 1000 weird cases in that country, doesnt mean we should nuke innocent people. You should be glad you are born in this country as an American instead of an Afghan, or else someone else would be talking about killing you and your family by nuking you.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fsjunkie

    I wonder if when bad people die, they go to Afghanistan....

    October 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlos

      I almost peed my pants laughing at your post.....but who knows?

      October 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ricky

    Take the really young kids out, the ones that are not ruined already, and press the reset button.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. The Usual Suspects

    And not a single mention of islam. Talk about not seeing the trees for the forest...

    October 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      This was a murder case, not a religious thing. It is sad but normal that backward people turn to guns and religion, but the reason they commit this crime is because of their backward ways. What was the name of that other religion whose followers would burn women alive at the stake, because they thought they were witches? I cannot remember the name now...

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