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. Tom1940

    No religion on earth condones nor allows this behavior. Yet, those "enforcing" the edicts, should be warned of the danger to their soul for committing these terrible sins. One cannot be a spiritual/holy person, while inflicting pain, suffering and even death upon their fellow human beings. They say hell is full of zealots and those who "know best" for all the rest of us. Whether learned in school, in Temple, Church, Mosque, Madrassa, – wherever – those teaching that "this is proper", should be cast out and treated for what they are: "false prophets".

    October 20, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ibrahim

    I used to be surprised why the so called human rights organisation who think can bring change in islamic countries while they came with the problems. What have they been doing for the crime against humanity being carried out in guontanamou, what the hell has the americans done in iraq and libya?

    October 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Flagante Delicto

    Not at all surprizing as we all know that Muhammad (in His infinite wisdom) condoned,nay, even enjoyed buggery. Especially on the receiving end. Muhammad enjoyed it from there were the sun doth shine.

    October 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. David Crosby

    These people behave like animals..Kind of proves the evolution thing..huh..? Why are we still messing around with them..?..Pull out and nuke em off the Earth if the Taliban attacks us again...

    October 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. majav

    Female on female crime. Shame.

    October 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Profit Mow Ham Id

    Is_lame means Piece! A piece of you here...a piece of you there..... "All-In-snack-bar!"

    October 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kyser u know Sose

    Women over there just can't seem to get ahead.

    October 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitt n Ryan

      you mean they can't keep a head...

      October 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donald Brown

      Here's a thought: Let's get out of Afghanistan and let these animals destroy themselves. Bin Laden is dead. Let the animals kill each other....

      October 21, 2012 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
    • jonathanmcculley

      if those men cant get head from that girl they are willing to do anything to get it from her

      October 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ogre12

      I know that justice will be done at the end of the day.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Simon

    Expect other from Muslims?

    October 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harviele

      If religions in the United States were allowed to enforce religious law on the people, they would be just as bad, if not worse, than these people in Afghanistan. The Puritans come to mind, but I have dealt with people in the Baptist and other faiths in various places that the thought of them being allowed to enforce their religion on the people is downright scary.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. smacko

    Kill them if they are adulterers, kill them if they aren't. Please explain to the families of our soldiers killed over there why we are fighting for these animals. Don't give me that dump about "things like this is what we are fighting." You cannot fight a centuries old ideology unless you kill them all. They aren't worth the bullets. Get us out and let them kill each other.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      You do realize that all people over there aren't like this. It is clearly enough to make the country hell-on-earth for people over there but you can't speak that generally about everyone.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • johanna

      Imagine if you lived in a cruel place where everyday could be your last because and you are defenseless. Wouldn't you want someone to help you or save you from the attrocities occurring all around you?

      October 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Harlon Katz

    Well, the Obama administration and the Democrats INSIST we must be accepting of this "religion of peace".

    October 21, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Abdul-Ganiyu Yusuf

      then what are u waiting for,because is the solution to the problem of the world.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
    • ohmygod50!

      Obama is not at fault here........you must be joking................

      October 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jonat

    Where are NOW and the other women's rights groups? How come they only care about lame political issues when they have women being killed and tortured around the globe?

    October 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Freedtoo

      They are more concerned about a private golf club and it's men only policy.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Abby


    October 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tim

    Now there's some family values for you. Leave it to beaver meets Charles Manson

    October 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. eroteme

    Muslims are Muslims.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alex Valencia

    We certainly brought hope and change over there! Get the heck out NOW!

    October 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
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