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. griff

    Last sentence, "emotionally scared..." Shouldn't that read "scarred?" She's emotionally damaged, not emotionally frightened (although I'm sure she's both)

    October 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill Clinton

    I remember her. She was on the cover of National Geography magazine,when she was young

    October 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Salami prince

    Let God show them his power i believe thy tink He is sleepin but he will rise soon.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bildo

    Amazing how susceptable people are to propaganda and stereotyping. And how full of hate for their fellow human beings. Sad.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. felix

    Gotta love the middle east, lets import more of their insanity into the US via unrestricted immigration.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Name*Milton phelps

    That is so so. Awful

    October 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Geo Bush Papa

    I saw her face on the cover of a magazine. She was beautiful. She could be a model in New York. Holy King of Arabia wanted this trophy in his harem. She made her choice,a baker.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Name*Bob woody

    Amercia a life out side the usa.we come a long way.Amen

    October 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • alf564

      America is a life outside MOST of the world. We are REAL, they are, well who knows....ask the followers of the profit

      October 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Geo Bush Papa

    This is good study case. This simple Islamic tribal case should be incorporated in US Law. End of messy and costly divorce cases.When I appoint next supreme court judge, he will be Imam or Mullah.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • alf564

      Well, logically thinking and speaking, if the present sitting President has his way the USA will be under SHARIA law
      before his 2nd term in office is over ...bad for us :-((

      October 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Geo Bush Papa

    This woman refused to earn a living and wanted to be stay home mom and watch TV. In US my man Romney, refers them as 47 %..

    October 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Denise

    Since some of us enjoy nit-picking, there should be an "accent aigu" above the e: crétins!

    October 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tensai13

    These poor girls and young women of Afghanistan are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Here is yet more proof, as if any were needed, that "god" does not exist, never did and never will, but if you insist that "god" exists must indeed be a real POS.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. alf564

    Come on guys and gals....its only Islam at its finest...

    October 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Guest

    Sometimes I wonder if the world is even worth saving.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • tigertony1

      Saving by whom? People in their own countries must work for change and reform. They can also leave their countries and traditions behind if they wish, many of us in the US did just that. Some people in the world think we are just as barbaric just in different ways. If we want to help, there are plenty of organizations we can support, but right now, we need to focus on the home front, we are in dire trouble and need to take care of ourselves, otherwise we are not strong enough to help anyone else.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. I know the whole story

    Mother- In-Law's cousin was getting itchy to score a point with this daughter-in -Law. Carried away in heat.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
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