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. St. Xavier

    Some times I wonder why a loving GOD ( so we are told he's LOVING ) lets people do the thing's they do. The Taliban in Afghanistan are still living in the dark ages of death an destruction among them selves in GODS name. The woman of Afghanistan the way there treated is a sin to GOD an man kind. I ask my self how can it all stop the sinful treatment an killings an can man kind step into correct it ?????????????????????????????????????.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Theamology

      We can step in. We just need to formulate a rational 20-40 year plan to educate these people.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • eroteme

      Has the pope instructed Afghanistan yet?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • FactsRBad

      That is simple – there is no god.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      God sent Jesus to die for your sins. Tha is love. The fact that he gives us freedom to choose how we live our lives is also love. The fact that we choose to sin is our issue, not His.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Theamology

    This is just so sad. What can be the cure for the mental illness of the adults of this region of the world? Any ideas? How about enforced education where everyone is required to achieve a college level secular education? Separate the adults from the children and the men from the women for twenty years until universal education is achieved? If this all sounds too extreme then please propose an alterate plan that can work.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. irock

    These people are no better than dogs. As long as they keep this type mentality they will allways be a third world country. I say cut off all if any aid they recieve and pull out any americans that may still be there. Their way of life is not worth dieing for.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. sarge

    I have had Afghan refugees living on my property. Let me tell you this behavior is not at all like what the people are.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. US EXPAT actually been in Kabul

    This is a horrible crime, but many horrible crimes occur in the US.

    To me thi sis totally lopsided reporting by the liberal media who
    are selling the same story over and over to the US market
    and US readers. But It is very much not the whole picture.
    At all. In fact it is yellow journalism at its worst. Shame
    one you guys.

    Why doesn't th emedia report about the 20,000 girls who attend
    Kabul University? The boys don't attend. They start working
    at age 8. I know. I was there.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mitt

    Honey Boo Boo and her ilk are voting for Obama. No wonder we are in this economic mess.

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

      This economic mess could get worst. Vote for Mitt if you want to see how.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • ken

      Mitt and 1%ers are betting the American people are so gullible enough to believe them. Example, cutting 20% of taxes from the bottom 47% of tax payers who pay nothing equates to nothing. But 20% to a 1%er means hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax savings. I'm still amazed 45% of the American people are fooled by Romney's words.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cody

    Soldiers Die and we should let them kill them selves

    October 19, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. Peter

    the opening statement can't possibly be correct:

    A young woman had her head chopped off.......

    I doubt she really was the instigator or consented to it.

    It could have been correct to report it as:

    A young woman was beheaded..........

    I'm curious as to what the reaction and subsequent actions of the husband were upon finding out what happened.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. gdog

    It's a rich and beutiful culture infiltrating America's culture. We too will soon see adults marrying children and raping them as we no longer feel defending our current marriage definition is important anymore.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Chloe

      gdog, it's spelled b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. and believe me if you could see how these people live you would not call it rich and beautiful. They live in caves and bombed out hovels. Not pretty.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Sabbotage

      That is just not correct to say. Our current definition of marriage has nothing to do with beheading a woman for not wanting to trick out herself. Afgans would say it is tradition. I have heard the same thing about Asain women being subjected to hideous crimes. It is Tradition. In America we lynched people based on skin color. Tradition. We allowed Dog fighting. Tradition. We have created atrocities all in the name of Tradition. Maybe it is time to create a new Tradition. One where we let God punish those who are not doing anything that hurts others and Man worries about punishing those that hurt each other.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Daremonai

      Ahm.... what is going on over there IS 'traditional marriage values'.. it was not all that long ago that such thing were common here too. You want to go back to Christian values in marriage... right there is where it goes.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Hint: Turning this tragedy into some kind of stab against Gay Marriage is just plain weak. You may want to look at your own basis for the "definition of marriage." To misquote an epic movie: "You use that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

      October 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • DiehardRepublican

      Well when the LDS gets in office maybe we can fight back against this very thing... oh wait.... nevermind

      October 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • DiehardRepublican

      Let us all read from our bible and see what tradional marrige really was, shall we? lets ee what other traditions were in there too? Guess what, we don't practice any of them anymore and most are in fact, illegal.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dan


    October 19, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • mpouxesas


      October 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Obama Mama

    I wonder what their religion says about this? Jeesh. A little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, just a little bit?

    October 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Richard

    When Obama and the peaceniks leave Afghanistan, it'll fall, just like Vietnam, probably in nearly as short a time-span. Then watch what happens. Because of Islam, we may be in for hundreds more years of barbarism. So please liberals, when women are again completely defenseless there, don't come crying that we could have stopped it.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • kilowatt23

      So Richard, lets say we commit our military to this place. Have you an exit stradegy that to share with us or do we stay there until we "win". How long do you think it will take? Hmmmm?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      What would you rather have then? An indefinite US Military presence in a country that doesn't want us there, enforcing values they don't share? This is barbaric and terrible, but don't blame "Obama and the peaceniks" for wanting to get out of a bad situation. Afghanistan has a long, long, history of making it painful for invaders. The Soviets learned it last century, we're re-learning it this. We should give them the tools and support, certainly. But it really isn't our place to arbitrarily enforce our values on them.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • J Mann

      Yeah, so let's elect Romney, who was a conscientiousness objector who served not even like most CO's did in VIet Nam, talked about peaceniks, this dude was a full on draft dodger, no better than the hippies who fled to Canada.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Lonnie Wild

      barbarism, huh? Sounds like you know a bit about it.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • DiehardRepublican

      Dick Cheney!? IS that really you buddy?! i thought you were in hinding until after the election like a good little dick?

      Lets play the soviets and crash our economy playing world domination! It'll be fun!

      October 19, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      and now Nam is kissing our butts making ball caps asking for an American base there. they hate the Chinese more than us, amirite?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mohammed

    As a Muslim, this behavior towards women/girls/children is UN-ISLAMIC and these people are not real Muslims but rather cowardly animals and they are nothing but shameful examples of human beings. It's this behavior that gives Islam a bad name.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • JCW

      BUT, they use religion to justify their actions.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I think every Muslim I've ever known personally would agree with you – those people are poor representatives of Islam. The sad thing is the perpetrators almost certainly believe that their particular form of the faith justifies their actions. It's a sad state that's not limited to Islam, or even just Abrahamic religions. Extremism, fundamentalism, and other "isms" tend to bring out the absolute worst in people.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • KeepItReal

      So, what about this translation from the that autjorizes Men to hit their wives? Quran's Sura 4:34 "Husbands should take full care of their wives, with [the bounties] God has given to some more than others and with what they spend out of their own money. Righteous wives are devout and guard what God would have them guard in the husbands’ absence. If you fear high-handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great."

      October 19, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      Keep it Real..... the old testament allows the same ?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Obama Mama

    I do remember some people in the US taking mentally impaired peoples SS checks and keeping them in basements within the last year. What people do to each other at times is appalling. Cruelty is everywhere.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. columbus

    Our young soldiers are dying for these people? Pull out, the traditional Afgans will never evolve to be part of our type of civilization, if those girls want a future, get out of there too.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Great White Dog

      Also, remember what we did to the American Indian

      October 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
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