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. AKA

    *Legalized abortions, rather. It was always illegal until our legislative lawmakers found a way to cheat on their wives and dispose of any incriminating physical evidence.
    And let's see...for a fact, even this year, US christians have killed more Afghan citizens than Afghan citizens have. And that's not including how many Afghan muslims American muslims have slaughtered.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Cadiz

      Totally fabricated numbers. The Taliban regularly kill far more Afghanis in any one year than all of the Afghanis killed by US or NATO troops since the war started.

      October 19, 2012 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. AKA

    Awe, the christian world vs the muslim world. Are there Afghan christians fighting US christian troops as hard as American muslim troops are fighting Afghan muslims?

    October 19, 2012 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andy

    When I read stories like these, I tend to agree with someone who said we should make that country into huge parking lot.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      That was probably me... Nothing but a bunch of cave dwellers, and we are wasting lives and money on them? Nuke them and let their god sort them out.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      So rather than side with the victims in this war, the innocent afghan women who are fighting for their rights, you advocate killing ALL of them: terrorists, victims, innocents, moderates. You're basically advocating genocide. Is that right? Every Muslim is at fault, even the victims of terrorism, so let's nuke 'em all. How very civilized of you.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
    • najla

      you should be smart enough to know that Afghanistan is being ruled by outsiders; the situation they are facing and have been facing since forever is due to the invasion of different groups......................it would be good for you to know your history before commenting.....

      October 19, 2012 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Or Lake Afghanistan !

      October 19, 2012 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Why bother? Let them go back to fighting amongst themselves. China has mining contracts, they can stabilize things if they want to support their corporate interests.

      October 19, 2012 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. fandancy

    The perfect place for Todd Akin.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. AKA

    Odd how when some dude decalres war on Afghanistan, muslims pick-up their Korans in defense of their homeland while the invading christians drop their bibles.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. AKA

    And oh Frank. Something MUST be done about those pesky muslims invading and occupying foreign lands. I hear they might even look at invading Venezuela someday.
    And remember, when you support Israel you aren't supporting jews. Roughly 1/3 of Israeli citizens aren't jews...they are muslims, and many of those "jews" are members of the jewish religion in name only.
    Support the muslim Dome of the Rock mosque where Solomon's temple once stood! Support Israel.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitt Happens

      I like your answer, you seem well informed.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. AKA

    STILL waiting on US christian troops to spread democracy throughout Saudi Arabia. What's the holdup?
    Would you be upset if Arab muslim nations joined forces and invaded and occupied axis of evil nation Venezuela? North korea? Odd.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Minerva

    We don't know how the MIL participated od even if it is really true that she did. For all we know she was forced to watch or to participate in some way. Before we make any judgements about her going along with this act, I think more details need to be given.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mitt Happens

    All Mitt wants to do is turn this country into a religious society, kind of like Iran. Ironic how they don't like each other yet want similar worlds.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nate

    "Pepper Jack is serious!"

    October 19, 2012 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. government cheese

    Look back over 4 years. Don't progressives want Sharia law? Look at the history of progressives.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. ma & pa

    We are all just people. Gender and race we're born with. Culture we're born into. Religion we're taught by people. God is true, just and life-giving. Most people feel injustice and flee from it or fight it, somehow. We think monsterous injustice gone unrecognized and uncorrected has always been the biggest threat to all people. That being said, perhaps everyone involved in the murder of the virtuous wife could publicly be delt the same fate they made for her. Everyone could thereby learn to protect true virtue instead of distorted religions or cultures.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. kathy briggs

    Another heartwarming story.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. slupdawg

    You can't win for losing in that country.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Let's go visit

      got to wonder how mom is going to explain it to her son.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. larry5

    .............and these Muslims are immigrating to America. These are the people that Obama said he would support no matter which way the political winds blew. When Obama retires in a few months maybe we can buy him a one way ticket...

    October 19, 2012 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
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