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. Cleanse

    This planet suffers the disparity of rich and poor, educated and ignorant. The gap is so wide that we cannot expect peace on earth until that gap is bridged. That bridge will come in the form of enlightenment or a cleansing of the genetic pool by natural or man made disaster. Either way, I hope it happens soon. It's FN embarrassing to live amongst ya'll.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey DeYoung

      You make an excellent point. I mean the one about the massive gap between the rich and the poor, and the educated and the ignorant. But, let us not forget. Ever since the dawn of civilization, there has always been a huge gap between the rich and the poor. And, a huge gap between the educated elites (the owners and rulers) and the commoners or working class. It has only been a very short time (historically speaking) in which the average person has had the opportunity to become enlightened to the world around him or her. 500 years ago, no one even knew the "New world existed" Now, we care about what is going on half way around the world!

      October 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kola1

    These people are hideous and act like animals they are no better than pigs

    October 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. J-Sandusk


    October 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lol

    ah islam, the religion of peace. destroy it.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. George's

    Sooooooo what did they do with the mother-in-law & cousin?

    October 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MomOf5

    Happens in USA too, the only difference is that they're shot

    October 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ghruth613

    Brings new meaning to "giving head".

    October 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*Heather

      What a sic piece of ***# too bad its not your mother or sisters head huh?

      October 20, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Islam = terror

      Islam did this! quit trying to distract us!

      October 20, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. Name*Syed Ahmed

    Gods just sent jesus please

    October 20, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. MuckFohammad

    why are mohammy lovers so mean to chicks?

    October 20, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. MT 37

    This is a classic illustration of Islam in action. Islam is the death of civilization. A seventh century totollitarian, tribal ideology masquerading as a religion.

    October 20, 2012 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
    • /facepalm

      wow just dont get on the internet.. making me dumb.

      October 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. aurelius

    It'll take thousands of years before Muslim countries ever make it. Men are the worse curse those countries have ever known. And their religion is what keeps the men dominant. Indeed religion was invented by men to keep control over their women. History demonstrates that over and over again.

    October 20, 2012 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MG

      Absolutely right and I am man, though thankfully not a moslem.

      October 20, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. kelly

    who watches honey boo? quit glamorizing these hicks!

    October 20, 2012 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
    • hollywub

      I was quite surprised to see that the show is not sponsored by Crisco or Metformin. Is this what it is like outside of my shell of the tri_state area? Horrible people.

      October 20, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. hollywub

    So can we finally all agree that we can beat an enemy with our might but can not change a culture with words? We can put 5 million troops in Afghanistan and they will still have tribal in fighting and they will still act in this manner. We do not take the measures required to meet the goal of civilizing this nation. I read this and feel guilty for all the trivial complaints I have of my life day to day.

    October 20, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. Canuck

    So where's the rest of the story ? Herat Police investigated, and then what ? Have the two been arrested ? Will they be charged ?

    October 20, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. saywhat

    "So, when you clash with the unbelieving Infidels in battle (fighting Jihad in Allah's Cause), smite their necks until you overpower them, killing and wounding many of them. At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind them firmly, making (them) captives. Thereafter either generosity or ransom (them based upon what benefits Islam) until the war lays down its burdens. Thus are you commanded by Allah to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam." Koran 47:4

    October 20, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyser u know Sose

      Praise be to Allah! The infidel woman can no longer reject the wisdom of her elder.

      October 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
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