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. Michael Merics

    Sorry to say but in such a situation an eye for an eye, officers should have already beheaded both of them and the devil should be tickling them with his iron poking stick atm.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. mr86

    thats probably not a big deal in the region,,,,

    October 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. 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 |
  4. Miss Trixie

    I knew this happened in a Muslim country before I clicked on the article. What is wrong with those people?

    October 19, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Farmer Pig Eats Farmer

    Attention all you prehistoric bipeds on that side of the world:
    : end message

    October 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. A Flock of Illegals

    Did they eat her body at least so they dont starve? Jeeze, at least make the most out of being what they are

    October 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Marcus

    What the hell is wrong with this country (Afghanistan) they are like a bunch of rabid animals they shouldn't be allowed to breed.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. xx

    With all the nutjob views religious conservatives have, this makes their views pretty liberal compared to the mid east.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Big Red

    So they can be executed for committing adultery, and executed for refusing to commit adultery. The two women who killed her should themselves be beheaded. They are barbarians, plain and simple. Tradition has nothing to do with it.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keel Hauler


      October 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      She was not "executed", she was murder by her mother-in-law.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ELH

    And we are going to create a democratic nation in this cesspit of a region? Rubbish. The only way to pacify Afghanistan is to kill every single man, woman and child. That is, of course, unthinkable so what are we doing there? Time to bring all our troops home and never ever involve our country in a Mideast misadventure again.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Berticode

      your response concludes you are a teahadist barbarian

      October 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael

      "The only way to pacify Afghanistan is to kill every single man, woman and child."

      Wow, killing women and children; you're just as evil, barbaric, and hypocritical as the people you're criticizing.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fladabosco

      Actually the Tea Party people would support invading many countries in the Middle East (which is not where Afghanistan is, but..) I think a tea party barbarian would suggest we send thousands of missionaries there and drop bibles from airplanes all over the place. That would make them our friends!

      October 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ralph

      I totally agree with you... and I am not one of the tea party. Bring our people home and get out of that part of the world. Maybe they will kill each other off without us.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • precisionphotographer

      Adolf Hitler and his "Ultimate Solution" had the same idea as you. Verbatim.

      Unfortunately, he was in control. Fortunately, you're totally irrelevant.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keel Hauler

      There's no excuse for killing children. Adults, on the other hand...

      October 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. batjones

    This article crystalizes the fact that Afghanistan is not a Muslim country. Thirty years of unending war has stripped this land of any sense of humanity. It is a place of anarchy.

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

      The region has been in and out of conflict within itself and outside powers for generations. There's no fixing it.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BootyBanger

    Let's not condemn Islam for such violent acts, rather let us condemn the individual extremists who think it's okay to terrorize women is such a way.

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

      Forget it, that boat sailed a long time ago. No one is going to respect these barbarians any longer nor their views.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • dirqui

      Then why does this crazy stuff ONLY happen in Muslim countries? The Muslim mentality is soo messed up. My kid could marry any other nationality but if they brought a Muslim home – sorry...

      October 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • colinmb

      We all know there is no violent crime in the US. Only in Muslim countries.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JamesTK

    THIS is what our men in uniform are over there fighting for? Bring the boys HOME!

    October 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SlackMeyer

    Hang on Liberals/Progressives/Democrats... I'll take care of it.


    October 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fladabosco

      You're a jerk.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      I would say Christians did it before, during violent times in Europe and the Americas, and as recently as WWII (Nazis did horrible and evil things) . Afghans are ruined by decades of war and their are living centuries behind the rest of the world. It is sad, but there is no bright future in sight for them. Imagine the young people that are growing in this condition! Imagine the psychological traumas they must go through; most of them are going to end up being serial killers.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fladabosco

    I don't have a simple answer for Afghanistan. If we leave then the Taliban will return and once again they will be a major threat. This is dirt poor country and has been for centuries. Strong and brave people, but with very high rates of illiteracy. Our enemy in this region is poverty, not religion. You don't see this kind of behavior in more modern societies whether they are predominantly Muslim or Christian, but you do see it in very poor countries.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
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