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. Animals

    These people are animals. Its a culture and a religion of animals.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Donna

    That's their culture......

    October 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • VegasRage

      I'm sure there is something in the Quran that supports his actions, Allah peace be upon him and all that stuff.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • hiruu

      No it is not...

      October 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. KO

    It's hard to imagine this! I can't believe the reality of the situation. Those poor women!!!

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

    I'm starting to wonder about the motives of CNN when it comes to these stories. I mean all of a sudden we're getting swamped with horrific stories from Afghanistan, a country that is completely useless to almost anyon and largely been ignored for a century yet the worlds two leading super powers were both ready to destroy their own countries just to gain control of it.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      I'm starting to wonder about the motives of CNN when it comes to these stories. I mean all of a sudden we're getting swamped with horrific stories from Afghanistan, a country that is completely useless to almost anyon and largely been ignored for a century yet the worlds two leading super powers were both ready to destroy their own countries just to gain control of it.
      Just how important are those poppy fields?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      can you spell L-I-T-H-I-U-M? 1 trillion $ in minerals the Afghans can't process w/o American investment.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AfghanNPakistanRdirty

    Countries like Afghanistan, and Pakistan are home to dirty, ugly, smelly, and evil people. these people shouldn't even become part of news.... let them be the dirty sand dwellers that they are and lets leave them to kill each other off... seriously... and turbans that want to reply feel free cause your words and statment's really don't matter

    October 18, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • cyberclone

      mark, i know! those poppy seed buns are good, but the seeds stick in my teeth.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Baa Weet

    wow they must have still been swinging in the trees a few thousand years longer then the rest of us.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. goo6er

    President Obama... please bring our troops home now. None of them should end up a casualty for that country, and you know it.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Agnes

    Having been Muslim, raising my son as one and finally leaving the religion after 8 long years, I can say w/o hesiitation that Islam is the foundation for this kind of cultural thinking where the woman is nothing but a vessel for man's pleasure and is less than human. Men have total freedom to do whatever they want to their wives/sisters and they receive little punishment, if any. Mohammed was certainly not a Ghandi or a Jesus. He resorted to terrible violence in order to spread the religion. The Koran is full of violent verses that would make your hair stand on end. No one can dispute that. Read it for yourself. Been there, done that!

    October 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rationalist

      As a former Muslim myself, I totally agree.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karimonster

      Having grown up a Christian and having left that religion 10 years ago, I can tell you without hesitation that it's the same way. Religion hates women. Period.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TheBob

    Islam is a ... no, THE religion of peace.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. artemis3

    Hey people, can't we all just get along? We need to try to understand other cultures! Islam is a religion of peace! If only we could get rid of all the guns, then we could live together in peace. Vote for Obama.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • cyberclone

      artemis3 outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns. check into the violent crime statistics in australia since they put gun laws in place.
      vote for romney

      October 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rehabmax

    What comes out of Afghanistan is totally barbaric. One thing is worse than the one before it. It is an impossible situation unless you wipe out the whole country and start over.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Furious Styles

    That's it keep offing all of your women...soon you'll be close to dying out into oblivion realizing it too late.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TheBob

    There is no hope for these barbarians. They are no more civilized than their ancestors were 5000 years ago. In fact, if anything, probably less civilized.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe in Kalispell

    What a disgusting people and culture!!

    October 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |


    October 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
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