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. David

    And we care because? These people are barbarians...and need to be exterminated.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. carlos333777

    The solution is a no-brainer. Give the perps to the Taliban and within 48 hrs Sharia Law will chop off their heads. This is without wimpy, Western Kangaroo courts, swift and sweet.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Catherine

      Carlos – it's the TALIBAN that's causing all of this!!!! They'd applaud the killing of every woman 'till they realize they actually can't function without them. If you could erase this generation of men in that part of the world and somehow start fresh, but of course that's nuts – women will always suffer in those nations and under that so-called religion.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. wabob62

    Just behead them ,but before you do this show them the pit of dead pigs they will tossed into to be eaten by them. Gen. Pershing did something like this in the Phillipines to stop the muslim uprising and it worked. These people are animals and they should be treated like them.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
    • The_Mick

      Pershing didn't feed them to the pigs, Pershing slaughtered the pigs and rubbed the bullets to be used to execute the terrorists with the pig's blood so the terrorists would be contaminated by them and could not enter heaven. Every bullet we have in our military should be so treated. Though I don't know how widespread such idiocy is in the Muslim world.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      And oh, why won't those pesky zionists in israel just let these nice, peaceful muslims overrun their little country. I can't understand it, seeing that these muslims are so peace-loving and supportive of womens' rights and the rights of minorities!! (Sarcasm)

      October 19, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Michael

    Isn't her name in a Temptaition song from the 60s?

    I guess you'd say
    What can make me feel this way?
    Mah Gul
    Mah Gul
    Mah Gul
    Talkin about Mah Gul
    Mah Gul

    October 19, 2012 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. kevin

    The worst thing is that this unfortunate 20 year old girl was beheaded by her own mother in law (a woman is doing murder of another woman). Men are already barbarians now women are alos doing similar role. Shame on this society.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Anti_Jihad

      This is the only equality allowed in Islam between men and women - both men and women are permitted by Koran to carry out beheadings.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. southernwonder

    we have an army there. the afghans and pakistanis think they are all heirs of historic mugals. time to evacuate all males in the region back to mongolia, and let the women run the region.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |


    October 19, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Heather Duncan

    a mother in law did this. it was the mother in law's own action, she wasn't forced by anyone. How can we control an individual's actions. we can't. barbarian she was. may the killer, she rest in hell

    October 19, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Whatever


    October 19, 2012 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Phartum

    Leave them to their customs. The Muslims have always rejoiced in beheadings, stonings and suicide bombings.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. more2bits

    They said the Neanderthals went extinct. Nope, they are alive and well in Afghanistan.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. more2bits

    I think the Klingon treated their women better than the Neanderthals in Afghanistan.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andrey

    I cannot understand: is CNN sort of reporting another "honor killing" proving how terrible Islam is? Or is this just another crime that may happen and happens every day all around the world?

    October 19, 2012 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. SS

    Think the husband was involved. This is the Muslim world after all.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. AKA

    The youngest American child to survive birth was less than 22 weeks old. That means that millions of the so-far over 50 million human fetuses legally aborted in the US are potentially premeditated murders. The Supreme Court's opinion is that life starts at 28 weeks.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
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