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. AllahSpeaking

    Islam is a religion of peace --

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

      Truly, within the Koran, this may be so. However, actions within the Islamic world, are speaking and demonstrating so differently. It is the responsibility of those of the Islamic faith to prove differently. Denounce the behaviour of the Taliban. Tear apart the belief system that women do not deserve education – and choice. Refuse to contenence the universal cry of Muslims to destroy Israel – drive Jews into the sea. Stand up for the United States – the free world – that have sacrificed life to offer you/and your compatriots the right to self-determination. Either get with the program – or shut up – go your own way. As an American woman – my tax dollars are better spent here at home...than financing your war...that, even you, do not believe in.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ben

    Veterans are very important. If your pet gets sick who do you take it to? A vet. What if there were none? I think Vets are very important.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Fishtails444

    All Afghan people are disgusting for allowing this to go on.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HBar

    I have two questions: What is the agenda behind this article and to what federal agency does it belong?

    October 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. josh rogen

    the REAL war on women

    October 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. steve

    Wow, just ....wow.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The R Man

    I am sorry – but I fail to understand the reason behind some people's bashing of Islam (or any religion) for this article. If anything – Islam is against all the crazy things listed in the article. May be it's time to learn something about Islam instead of just blindly bashing it.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patrick-

    we really need to evacuate every woman and child under the age of 12 and woman of 25 and then just nuke this country! These poor women and kids of this country never have a chance to be kids or even young adults! America needs even more interention over there, or the United Nations and the rest of the world can take their turn in being the police for awhile, while we recover from all the US murdered over there!

    October 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitt Rommel

      Yes they can come here to the USA where Republicans will treat them the same way the Taliban treats kids and women!

      Good idea! A new wave of Democrats!

      October 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JPX

    One more example that religion poisons everything.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • RKT210

      This had nothing to do with religion...these people are just animals.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigDog's 81's

      Can you point out where in this article it says this was done because of religion? Yeah I didn't think so. The ignorance on these comment boards never stops amazing me. I served 8 years in the Marine Corps, did combat tours in Kosovo and Iraq, traveled all over the world which includes many Muslim countries and I'm a Christian that completely disagrees with the majority of what people are saying in these comments. It just boggles my mind that something like this can happen in the U.S. and people would just say how crazy this mother in law is or talk about how could someone do this but when it happens in Afghanistan its instantly about Islam and how terrible that religion must be. My fellow Americans are becoming more and more detached from the rest of the world and than we wounder why other societies don't particularly like us.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carrie

      It's not religion fool. It's pure politics & mid-evil thinking.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. northerstar

    It would appear that the USA still has a long way to go in "nation building" in Afghanistan given this article. How many of our soldiers must continue to die there? We completed our mission; we removed the Taliban government that played host to Bin Laden. The Taliban will likely return as soon as we leave, whether we leave in one more year or ten more years. We can't move a country that is 1,000 years behind the rest of civilization in only 10 years.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • RKT210

      Trying to instill democracy in Afghanistan is like giving the car keys to a 5-year old.

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

      > We can't move a country that is 1,000 years behind the rest of civilization in only 10 years.

      you missed a chance to keep your hands off in 1979...

      October 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. zuluhour

    Freedom does not come cheap. The Afghans refuse to pay for it. They are lost.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DickPerry

    And then we have the american news: Mother kills 2 children, then gets on a bus

    October 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RKT210

    These people are less civilized than primates in the jungle.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bud holladay

    Romney critics: stop creating issues where non exist and understand what a real "WAR ON WOMEN" looks like.

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

      I promise I will treat gays and atheists with the same fervor this brave mother treated her disobedient child.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jon

    Since Obama is the Comander in Chief, and the US Army is in Afghanistan, what is or has Obama done to prevent these things from happening to women ... and why aren't the liberal women's movement in the USA doing something about this. Why is it that only the Conservatives are upset about this stuff?

    October 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitt Romney

      Why would we be upset about it? We good old conservatives used to lynch blacks and hispanics and the irish, we used to throw bricks through gay couples' windows and burn down synagogues. Good old conservatives love to kill and plunder.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • RKT210

      Really, Mitt? The inner cities are predominantly liberal Democratic strongholds. They're pretty safe...

      October 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
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