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. saywhat

    Americans know nothing of the venerable Islamic culture and should refrain from judging what they don’t know. It’s the incessant meddling and warmongering of America that has created so much bitterness through te middle east. A unified Islamic state governed by Shariah will triumph in the middle east, then spreading to Europe and the United States. The great satan will perish, insh Allah.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ricky

    Afghanistan is an example of how backwards people turn to guns and religion.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tre

    That mother in law is one tough pimp. In Chicago we just beat our moneymakers to teach them the meaning of the word "respect". I'll bet it'll be an awkward christmas this year at their house: "Son, I'm so glad to see you. Sorry about Mah Gul. Anyway, how's everything else?"

    October 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Usual Suspects

    Capitalism in the caliphate?

    October 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ES71

    Basically women are property to them. They bought this girl as a wife and decided to make a profit on her as well. It goes on there all the time.
    They are clearly not very smart people though since by killing her they are going to spend money again buying their son a new wife.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. clarinet

    and we're still wasting our lives, money, and time on these low-life's?

    October 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Are the women who are being murdered and abused 'low-life's' too?

      October 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cameron

    what about a society that doesnt even wash their rear end, instead just rely on using a dry piece of paper?

    October 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill Clinton

    Sharia law by another name.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ES71

      Has nothing to do with sharia law, though I am not a fan of sharia lw either.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve Johnson

    Go ahead, give all the middle east countries the big bomb. the first time they use it will be the end of the middle east.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill Clinton

    Under burqa, strictly business.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sdacudoc

    The mother of all mother-in-law stories. We need to run, not walk from Afghanistan...........

    October 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reg E

      No. We need to wipe out every single Taliban and radical Islamist....or better yet get their own countrymen to rise up, say enough is enough, and do it themselves.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dd

    Did Monica fear the same punishment if she didn't visit the Oval Office?

    October 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • lorne

      One of the dumber remarks so far today.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny

      Monica never visited the Oval Office in her life.

      She in fact met Bill three doors down in the Oral Office.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lola

    These stupid stereotpying comments of all in the middle east are made about black, Mexican, Native American, etc. White America get over yourselves.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lindy500

      These stupid stereotpying comments of all in the middle east are made about black, Mexican, Native American, etc. White America get over yourselves.
      LOL Making a bigot remark while defending others...

      October 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saywhat

    Sons of Islam everywhere, the jihad is a duty – to establish the rule of Allah on earth and to liberate your countries and yourselves from America's domination and its Zionist allies, it is your battle – either victory or martyrdom.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • RTG

      I pity you.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElDestroyer

      Yeah, how's that working out for ya again??

      October 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      can't you just skip to the martyrdom? how about some self-immolation so you don't hurt anyone else though.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Name*biggmo

    The Middle East is a cess pool...we need to get the hell out of the entire region & let them clowns kill each other.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert In Manassas

      We tried, but as long as we continue our alliance with Israel, Israel's enemies keep involving us. Remember all of the terrorist hijackings of the 60s and 70s?

      October 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
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