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. Cyclopes

    I agree!
    The people of Afghanistan will not change until they fight for themselves and they are trying.
    I met an Afghani that is a school teacher; he is a graduate of SDSU and has been teaching here in Jalalabad for four years. He told me that he was assigned to teach girls but said he would not, do to the threat of being murdered; the teacher who did take the job was killed by the Taliban on his second day.
    I just want the politics to remain on the political forums, this is about a women who stood by her rights to live free and died for it.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      Teach should have called his cuz and got strapped. That's how they roll here, he has to know how it is there?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JB

    You cant help a society that acts like this. This brutal killing had nothing to do with the taliban, this is purely the actions of an entire society that has no respect for women and never will.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo


      October 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DCH

    You've just read a horrific story about how women are treated in Afghanistan and there are comments about Honey Bo Bo?????? Talk about insensitive.

    I think we should just give any female over there the option to immigrate to the US and get our troops the hell out of there. Democracy cannot be imposed from the outside, and until the men learn to appreciate and value their women, nothing will change. Lets just get them out of there so no more young women are murdered.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      These women unfortunately know no other way of life. They may not want to leave. In the U.S. How many times have you seen women standing proudly behind lawmakers while those lawmakers are passing laws that restrict women's rights? (Anti abortion, anti birth control) Women standing behind men even when the men do dumb things is something women seem more than willing to do.!

      October 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • hi2u2sir

      Hahahaha. Didn't you read that a woman was trying to force her into it? Theyre all garbage.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      yea they won't care about that till the little boys grow up.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mary

    They are talking about the violent atmosphere women face in Afghanistan..Yet the perps were women~!!
    Sound like there is enough violence to go around~!!

    October 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. steve

    Eye for an eye.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. boyamidumb

    Animals. Leave them to their own destruction.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. boyamidumb

    You all embarrass me. The U. S . Sucks.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. No one

    Perhaps slightly better than being stoned to death.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Yep-yep

    This proves there are cultures that are 'superior' to other cultures.

    I did not say 'race' but 'cultures'.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michele

    I think he or she means "cretin," lol

    October 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Thomas M. Calderon

    I say we leave that Country and not spend another cent on them. They will not change they don't care for us enought of GWB wars.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Greg C.

    Why are we so concerned about these backwards people. We should care less ! We are there for one reason, to avenge the attack on our home land and go home!

    October 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      Spot on.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lindalou

    Oh man..when does the insanity stop???

    October 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      When they stop believing in Allah.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AcesFull Mike

    Why do Liberals continue to apologize to and make excuses for Muslims?

    October 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      Who is apologizing? We've been ripping them a new one big time! Ex. Allah doesn't exist, These people have been brain washed, This barbaric act is a result of a lack of education and having been lied to ever since the day they were born. I don't think they will EVER change.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Animals

    It seems kind of stupid now to complain about the USA, obama, bush, Clinton, etc.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
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