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. BostonBob

    How about we kill everyone in the country over 21? The send in teams from the UN to help the youngsters learn how to be civilized.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. salt_fly

    Why in the world are we losing American lives and spending trillions of dollars to try to change this country into a modern society? These people are so backward that no matter what we do, as soon as our troops leave they will sink into their barbaric, tribal behavior all over again. Afghanistan is a cess pool and we should have left it to implode a long time ago.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • rmoffatt

      There is no doubt. The only productive thing the U.S. and allies have done in the Middle East is disrupt the organizations that desire to condone terror. This is done. There is no historical precident indicating change shall be brought about by military intervention in the Middle East (excepting Israel). Please, bring our troops, all of our Allied troops, home. We have nothing to gain in this region. And, if it is oil that we are looking for, perhaps this might be the impetus to develop alternative sources of energy. (Sorry, Republicans...this might cut into your revenue stream!)

      October 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

    Well, it looks like my friend owes me 5 dollars: I was betting that this was in Afghanistan (typical).

    October 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wildee7

    This is what happens when religions dictate policy in a country. Fanatics!

    October 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat F

      You think this is required by Islam? Wow, you are nuttier than they are.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Give them some credit- with the way the GOP operates these days the Taliban could be the forerunners of the new GOP in a few years.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Uri Nation

    These are behaviors that have gone on for ions and why we westerners think we need to always get involved is beyond me. It's time to abandon the sand-pile.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Well, the Talibans have their war on women in Afghanistan and Romney/Ryan, Todd Akin and the GOT have their war on women in America. Its no wonder why the GOT are against our withdrawal from Afghanistan. They like the abuse and mistreatment of women. Aka, their binder of women!!!

    October 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Romney has binders full of illegally obtained cash, but the employment of women fell to a dramatic low under Romney as governor 😀

      October 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Romney is a very silly man with binders full of right wing fanatics just salivating, waiting to carpet bag their way into positions they do not deserve- hell half his cabinet will probably be former Bush aides and executives.

      He'll run the country like a business- straight off a cliff.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Friet

      Miss Kabob, how was his income obtained illegally? Please cite JUST ONE EXAMPLE

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

      GOT Milk? It is GOP, my friend.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dscon

    Sandra Flukes daughter?

    October 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Planet Kolob

    I half expected this story was about a family in Alabama or Mississippi- the red states love to oppress women too!

    October 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • stephen

      hey, if she aint good enough for your family she ain't good enough for her own…

      October 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Planet Kolob

    That mother in law must have been a Republican.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Planet Kolob

    This is just an example of right wing "child discipline."

    The Republicans probably shouted in joy that a disobedient child was put in its place- of course they weren't too happy the woman did the beheading, they think only the government has the right to kill children.

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

    Good bible believing christians do this sort of thing with astonishing frequency- it isn't just the muslims anymore.

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

    Afghanistan is a lot like the deep south- full of guns, violence, and conservatives clinging to outdated religious morality.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Friet

      Don't you realize that the deep south is dominated by Democrats?

      October 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Andrew, maybe back in the 1960s... you know when the progressive Republicans became Democrats and the crazed evangelical racists became Republicans because of the civil rights movement and Nixon's southern strategy.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Randy

    Those people are animals. I am glad that Christianity supports and helps women.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Planet Kolob

    Mitt Romney's views on gays, contraception, women, and fiscal policy all coincide roughly with the views of the Taliban.

    The only thing they disagree with is gun rights- Romney actually is very anti-gun (anti-liberty.) It frightens him to think the average American is armed so he can't force them to worship Elohim and his hundred ever-fertile brides on Planet Kolob.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pat F

    Stop playing with the computer and go get some excerise – maybe you can bribe a dog with some red meat to play with you.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erica Day

      Oh, nice

      October 19, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
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