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. aaron

    The women should start carrying knives.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hey I'm a Liberal

    And I thought I was afraid of my mother in law...

    October 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Barry G.

    How sad.

    How tragic.

    How horrifying.

    It's amazing what humans are capable of doing. They are capable of doing wonderful acts of goodness, or incredible acts of evil.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Barry G.


    Do these people ever need help!

    October 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Elmer Fudd

    I still think we should turn that region into one big glass factory.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    They clearly don't want US there so we can't help them. No one can. These people are lost for the world.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gonfis

    Sounds a lot like the gangs in America. Chicago, Detroit, etc. Under the guise of family and honor and respect. If it weren't terrifying it would be laughable.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      Yeah stay out of those places if you didn't lose somethin' there. Might as well be in Kabul. Monkeys will be monkeys.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jerry Lemieux

    Nothing here. Just domestic violence. Remember, the Fort Hood shooting is just "workplace violence" according to the Obama administration.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pro Death

    Yes those muslims certainly do quite a bit to make the world a better place...

    October 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality

      Like invading other countries, stealing land and resources, installing puppets ....

      October 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality

      AND roasting babies in microwave oven.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. je

    These stupid stereotpying comments of all in the middle east are made BY black, Mexican, Native American, etc. Please add me (Asian) to the list too. GET OVER YOURSELF middle east.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality

      Go put a baby in microwave or eat human flash, you people are good for nothing else.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. canadian123

    hinduism??? what does hinduism have to do with this article?

    October 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. je

    This is an example of MODERN human behaviors in a land where Islam is King, Mohammad is the Prophet, Allah is God, and a house full of 72 virgins is heaven.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      More likely that it's one very ugly 72 year old virgin

      October 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • je

      Yes Bill, hard to tell underneath that burqas.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. denverboy

    You know we have been over there for ten pluse years and I gotta say..We have done NOTHING there for women..Not a thing...Sure we hunt doen Taliban we hunt Al Queda we bomb bad guys and we watch as they desercrate there women...It's sick...What are we doing there....It wont matter if we leave now or 2014 or 2020 they will go on and deal death to there women...What kinda of Security on we talking about.When we talk Afgan security..Fo the Puppet givernment..Fot its people...Just what are we trying to accomplish...I have yet to hear a good ansewer from Romney or Obama...The military is hard pressed to find solution to there own problem..Whatt I fear is Romney will get elected and keep us in Afganfistain ...forever...because there is no security light at the end of the tunnle...We will be putting our Soldiers in harms way ...for no reason....that we can define..Just to do it and that is NOT GOOD ENOUGH....Our mission there is OVER...our Men and women need to come HOME...we fight a war thats no winnable from any perspective......We have had zero impact on Afgan society..They are only marginaly freeer than when we attacked....years ago....SO WHATS THE POINT in STAYING....
    When women are pimped by family members and feel confidant anought to admit it in open court..It means to are POLICING one realy sick and twisted society...WHY ??

    October 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • No To Bush2.0!!

      Exactly!! They're Afghans!! They're Not Americans!
      And Mitt Romney wants us to stay there "indefinately"!! At a cost of more lives and many many billions we don't have (Fiscally conservative My Butt!)!!! Our job there is done and our duty fulfilled, we should follow the schedule Obama has laid out and "Bug Out" as planned. We've wasted too many lives and too many resources there already!

      October 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey DeYoung

      You make an excellent point. What is the point? If you could answer that, you would be on to something. Why are we in Afghanistan? I don’t know. But, I heard that there was a big pipeline running straight through the country. And, I don’t know, but I bet you the pipeline carries oil.. And, I bet you someone needs to protect that pipe. And, that someone is the American taxpayer because the rich SOB who owns the pipe doesn’t want to pay for it. Bottom line. Follow the money. Who owns the assets needs to protect those assets. Just like going to war with Iraq, because Osama Bid Ladin attacked The world trade center. And, lets not forget that Sadam tried to get W.M.D.’s and he was a mass murderer, and he tried to kill George Bush Senior. I think the only thing the Bush Administration did differently that most of our other leaders is - he had a really crappy cover story. And my final thought for the day is this. Write your congressman and your senator and tell them to get us the hell out of Afghanistan or at the very least, refuse to support the war in any way, shape, or form. Which reminds me. Someone is making money off of us being in Afghanistan. The same folks that have always been making money off of the making of WAR; The Military Industrial Complex… (The Halliburtons, the bomb makers, the airplane makers, the bullet makers, etc.. ) And the someone who is paying for it is the taxpayers. Just like we bailed the fat cats of Wall Street and the too big to fail Bankers out when they let their greed and arrogance run amuck.

      October 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. catharsishungry07


    October 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill Clinton

    Burqa cover. No discrimination. Good packaging material. John choose big burqa or small burqa. Old saying Cover the face and fire the base..

    October 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
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