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. teri

    This has nothing to do with religion. The Taliban aren't fighting for freedom of religion–they have that. They are fighting for the right to continue to abuse and subjugate their women. They are terrified that an education and exposure to the modern world will lead the Afghan women to realize that they are more than chattel.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Fear

      Most religions fear education...

      October 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. tom

    Doesn't say what happened to these murderous women...hope they were also beheaded.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    Why oh why are we spending our tax dollars and the lives of our soldiers to try and help a country as bass ackwards as Afghanistan? What a waste...

    October 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • HeyZeus

      We originally went there hunting for OBL, he's dead now, time to come home.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mihas

    To all the people involving Islam in this, you are complete idiots. This is 100% haraam (forbidden) and the mother and cousin should be sentenced to life or sentenced to death as an example. This is no way is related to Islam and is just a couple sick people.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. George

    What do you do? It's a different country with a different culture. The women are willing participants subjecting other women to these atrocities. The men subject little boys to bizarre acts. It's a self-perpetuating cycle that needs to be left to self-destruct. We are spending money trying to correct Sodom. Let it die.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. History Bear

    This goes beyond an antique religion, this is cultural. These people have been like this for 800 years or more.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lizandy

    We need to stop spending our money trying to change these barbaric people. Ending this kind of behavior is like trying to declare war on jealousy. This behavior is cultural and has been around longer than we have been a country. Start spending money on our own country and defenses and illegal immigration and get the hell out of the middle east now!

    October 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. jaana

    why are we over there.. these people are animals.. it's engrained and it's not going to change. why are we letting our young men die to save THIS.... if want the oil and natural gas that bad we should just get it over with and bomb the damn area to oblivion

    October 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. drud13

    Buddy Ryan had it right! The Middle East should be made into a parking lot.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. jack

    and our soldiers are dying for this? Get out now. Let them kill each other.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. teremist

    The slavery and subjugation and abuse of women is world wide. In America it happens behind closed doors. Wherever it happens, it is appalling and unacceptable. "Nothing is more telling about the character of a person, or a country, than the things they value, and the things they do NOT value." R. Prock, circa 2010

    October 19, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    There is nothing civilized at all in the way the Afghan people live. It's as if they were in a time warp and still in the 18th century or earlier. If these people don't wake up and smell the coffee, they will surely be overun by an angry world fed up with this kind of behavior. The only way to kill the snake is to cut off the head, so let's start by beheading the Taliban. Why are they allowed to continue to survive? Why are they so hard to eliminate? If politicians would just stop playing nice and start using that big stick Teddy Rosevelt talked about we would have eliminated the Taliban years ago.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy W.

      Thats the truth and that may be exactly what we need to do.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gangnam Style Chat app

    Perhaps the thing to have done was hire women in all facets of public service, at least outnumber the men 1000 to 1 in those positions of authority and monetary revenue

    October 19, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Neanderthal

    Please do not insult Neanderthal because it has been proven that all non-African in the world have 1-4% of Neanderthal genome. Unless you're black, we are all Neanderthals.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. TeddyN

    Strange the number of people who forget sending troops there. Seems like they think Obama did it when actually it was blood thirst Bush that did it

    October 19, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Theamology

      The saddest thing is that we are about to disengage and turn the country over to the dark ages of the enforced religous belief where life is living hell for each newborn child. I am saddened by the thought that this might turn out to be our legacy, that we, the inheritors of freedom, in response tp the attacks on freedom, came to afghanistan, witnessed horrific child abuse at the hands of heavily armed mentally ill religous zealots, and ran away.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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