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. PK

    These "people" are crazy....for two cents, I'd wipe that region off the face of this planet. Then we'd all breathe easier.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      Oh that's helpful. You advocate killing a Billion muslims (yes that's how many there are) just because a few thousand Afghans engage in this behavior. You forget also that some of this is culture. You don't see this kind of stuff happening in for example, Jordan. Its also a muslim country. So to blame it all on religion and want extermination, is very ignorant.

      What about our own Christian history of witch burning? Should we be exterminated too? By your rules, yes.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh please.. we’ve been here that “just because a few thousand” crap for decades. They would have run out of people by now if that was the case. I have to agree with PK. Enough is enough.

      Calling out Christianity is just a said attempt to shift blame. I say this as an atheist.

      It’s a shame tom, I agree with most of your post but this one was an epic fail.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      I'd pull the trigger on the whole planet. Time for a good cleansing. Maybe we'll get it right next time.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chaz

    This treatment is horrible. But American still doesn't need to be at war there.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      We never should have stayed. We should have gone in with the goal of finding and killing as many Al Qaeda as possible for a couple of months and then left. Everyone forgets why we went there in the first place. It was not to give "freedom to Afghans" like Bush was fond of saying. It was to hit back at those terrorists who planned 911 from there – Al Qaeda!

      October 19, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • jim

      agreed....we didn't learn from the Soviets

      October 19, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Truthbetold

    Its a good thing we're spending so much money over there....things are going so well.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ralph

    I can see nothing positive about that country. My vote is to get out before sundown today. It was a mistake to put boots on the ground from the beginning. You cannot fight Religion and win. My heart does go out to those in that country who would like to join the current century and would respect their fellow man. Seems as though they are the minority. You cannot fight Religion and Culture and win.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Colleen Turnage

    My condolences to the victim's husband. I cannot imagine what he must be going through right now... to lose his wife and discover HIS MOTHER was in large part responsible for his wife's death?! I just hope the mother-in-law and cousin end up being punished as severely as the women who commit adultery are... in short... their own heads should be forfeit.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. John G.

    I'm so glad our leaders have spent lots of money and sacrificed so many of our fine men and women nation-building in Afghanistan. You can tell that inside every Afghan is an American Christian just dying to get out. Every day the headlines are encouraging, what with all the beheadings, and having their military turn on our trainers and all. What a wonderful people and country!

    October 19, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ricky Gover

    These are the people our boys are fighting and dying for. Wow. We need to get out NOW and let them rule themselves. If they open any terrorist camps, we simply remote bomb the crap out of them and repeat until they're gone. If there is collateral damage, then so be it. These people are just animals anyhow.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Yet another story showing this isn’t about men vs women but a primitive and violent culture supported by both genders.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    What en enlightened society. I fail to see why people here in the US fear Sharia law. Imagine being able to buy a wife and abuse her any way you want and it's socially acceptable. You don't have to worry about her being smart enough to leave because she was never educated. It's all... so... peaceful.

    October 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Maryanne

    Hmm, I guess religion doesn't really matter in Afghanistan or is this how they practice it! Brutal people reminiscent of ancient Rome. No Brits, Canadian and Americans should lose a life for this.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    More tolerance from ISLAM!

    Is there anything on earth more sickening or as dangerous as ISLAM? BAN ISLAM before the PEOPLE stand up and BAN IT FOR THEM!!

    October 19, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. mariner v

    So much for "Mission Accomplished" Bush&Co. really screwed up with their nation building efforts. This was a really good way to blow a couple of trillion dollars. If you want more of the same just vote for the GOP in November then we can really go over the cliff and we won't have to worry about BS wars like Iraq and Afghanistan. We can spend the rest of the time destroying our own country.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • wolfpackbob

      For crying out loud, President Obama stated that Afghanistan was "THE GOOD WAR".

      October 19, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Bayousara

      Yep, it is too bad we are still in Afghanistan. If Mittens gets the presidency, which is highly possible, he will keep us there past 2014 (Obama's final end date) and he will also get us involved in Iran/Syria region. Seniors who plan to vote for Romney really believe that he won't touch Medicare and Soc Sec, but I as a senior will bet that premiums, deductibles will go up and coverage will be whittled away sometime in 2013 or 2014. More and more people will not have medical insurance through employment–employer insurance is phasing out in many companies, and Mittens plans to get rid of Obamacare, so back to the emergency rooms which we all pay for. Then there is abortion, back to the back alleys for that. I wish we could keep a list of who votes for Mittens and ask them in four years if they regret it. I am sticking with Obama.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

      Amen! You are 100% correct. America's problems are always caused by Republicans and the Dems have to step in and clean up their messes. God Bless Obama during his 2nd term in office.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      Romney equals...
      back alley abortions
      $1 trillion for military spending the generals don't want
      $5 trillion in tax cuts over ten years, mostly for the rich
      elimination of health insurance for over 30 million who don't have it. Obamacare
      fewer scholarships (Pell Grants)
      more oil subsidies less alternative energy research
      deportations of Hispanics, many who have been here since childhood

      October 19, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    I served 20 years in the Navy and I have been in the Region and muslims in general are pretty good people, but these extremists really need to be wiped out. They claim their violence is based from religion, but it is only based on greed and perversion.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Dearypie

      Thank you for that insight. It's nice to here objective comments from people on the ground in the region. Thank you as well for your service.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • wolfpackbob

      Well said, Dearypie. Thank you, Jim.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      Thank you so much for your comment. This is much of the problem in our country, people label entire groups based on the actions of some. The world should be working together to be rid of the extremists.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

      Retired Navy myself. The DoD needs to send in covert teams and take out every Taliban leader one-by-one, free the women and children.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Anchorite

      Finally a reasonable point of view. Thank you. Although I submit that it's interference in the region that allowed these extremists to flourish, first by the Russians, then by Pakistan, then by us. Extremists don't become powerful in stable countries that have can feed themselves.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • sunnyknight

      Don't forget May 2001 G. W. Bush gave the Taliban $43 million. Our tax dollars at work!

      October 19, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. SDG

    We can only hope they devolve into non-existence. I'm not sure we'll ever be so lucky. Goes to show how stellar Americans are in the world picture and how any fractionally-intelligent human being wants to be here rather than there.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. Doug Ericson

    She was the head of her household.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
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