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. I know the whole story

    How dare she refuse ? Desert air, under the yum yum tree.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. I know the whole story

    The truth is she wanted to go to school. Big no no. Ask a Pakistani Taliban.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jerrica

    How could anyone talk so generally? Are you forgetting the woman who was beaheaded? The 13-year-old who had her nails ripped out? Or how about the young woman scarred for life physically and mentally? These woman were trying to be strong and stand their ground. You want them to kill each other, but in reality it's the most innocent people in harms way. Think before you speak.. Or post in this case.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. VeryTruth

    Taliban did not exist in Afganisthan until Soviets invaded and US needed to kick them out. Imagine a country with century old history, doing much better than what they are today was brutally used by two superpowers and ripped apart. Taliban gained popularity and so did these tortures against women. And to all of you who says "Let's get outta here, our mission is over," this is what got us all in this big mess today. If after Soviet eviction, US stayed back and helped Afghans to leap back to normalcy and not let Taliban grow so big and mighty, we would have never seen 9/11. Thats whole short vision of "Let's get outta here after I got what I want" got us all into this trouble. Each old culture have issues., so don't blame a particular one. It's the apathy of the so called "Powerful" and the tendency to exploit the less privileged causes these long term issues.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ES71

      Not likely. I am Russian and I met Afgans at our universities. You have to understand that Soviet Union was secular. And those Afgans studying at our univesities had to accept – no religion and womean as equals. Those, by the way were kids of the Afgan rulers, the best of them. And as I woman I could tell – they didn't see me as equal. They constantly lapsed into excusining their mideval ways. And those were the ones Soviet Union was grooming to be the leaders of secular Afganistan. It was always hopeless.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. wsal

    first you have to get rid of the Taliban, Al Qaeda etc.,etc. etc.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. I Hate Legs

    Hi, I really hate legs and im just here to do a current event for my class so i can pass. Have a nice day!

    October 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. I know what you wrote

    Women are second class citizen according to Quran. Their testimony is half of a man. They are the plowing ground for men. Men suppose to beat wives if they do not obey. All from Quran.
    Islam founder Mohammad married his own Daughter-in-Law (while her husband lives-Adopted son) eventhough he had many wives and concubines!
    Who is the real problem here?
    Is it Quran, Mohamad or Both?

    October 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignorance404

      What does this have to do with Islam? Afghanistan has been the graveyard for empires for centuries, even islam itself got owned by them. They just don't care. This act was done by two women; you are pretty dumb if you are blaming religion. Up until the 1900s Islam was the most supportive religion towards women. They were given money and assets upon divorce and what not; British changed their laws based on this many years ago. Regarding Muhammad marrying more than one woman; marriage was different back then; it was done to protect women who had no men around them. But go on and spout your nonsense; people like you are the ones that bring a bad name to those around them and associated with them.

      October 26, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. sir

    these muslims are just stinking animals. screw allah.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • karolin

      am so but your comment is a bit stupid and out of place not all afghans are muslims and not all muslims act this way. just because a group of people act a certain way and blame religion for it does not mean that's the case. if this was happening in a western world with catholics you wouldnt say screw christians you'd blame the group of people...

      October 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Doyle Wiley, MI

      I'm a U.S. Air Force veteran, as far as religion goes I'm a Baptist.

      I agree with karolin statements. Also, allah is just one of the many names of God. You need to consider what your saying to screw. You offered absolutely no words that would aid, console, or lead to a constructive resolution. Therefore I can only say, 'screw you'.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • sassyjames

      Christians never murder anyone

      October 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maylyn

      @sassyjames: You might want to do a little reading before you make a statement like that. Christians, and yes that does include Catholics and I was raised Catholic, are responsible for the murders of hundred of thousands of people all because they were not Christian or Catholic. The reign of Queen Mary, daughter to Henry VIII is a a good example of that, so your statement is false. Christians have murdered many!

      October 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy Mae

      My husband is Muslim and does not hit me, and won't. It's not just Muslims that beat me, Americans and every country have their share of woman beaters, not just Muslims. He treats me equal too him

      October 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. FarLeft

    This is another reason why we need to exit the middle-east. They do not think like us, they will never think like us, they don't want what we are 'selling'. We have no reason to be..., Oh! Wait! I forgot.., the oil. Never mind.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Sergeant Van

      Remind me how much oil is in Afghanistan, and how much of our imports come from there again?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      @Sarge Van ok it's 1 trillion in lithium in Afghan. difference w/o distinction in this case

      October 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      I bet the women want it

      October 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. anon

    The latest tale in the saga of "King of the Sand Pile" coming soon to a bookstore near you. Pre-order now.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ben Rivera

    These people are out allies. The best we can do among middle east Muslims.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. marsh0

    with your name calling, how are you any different from them? You evidently believe that you are better than them therefore you call them sand lice.
    Little do you realize that you actually fell from the same tree as them.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. PervasiveInsanity

    Islam... "The religion of peace"... yeah... "Have a piece of my daughter-in-law..."

    October 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PervasiveInsanity

    Sounds like MOST mother-in-laws... actually... ( gulp )

    October 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BadEnoughDude

    Just another fine example of the greatest cancer facing the world today: Islam. Imagine what a wonderful place the world would be without this virulent filth of a religion pervading every corner of the planet. More people need to wake up and see just how vile Islam is and how much of a threat it poses to not only world peace and stability but basic human decency.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalmDown

      Are you serious? Do you even know how many people are Islamic or Muslim on this planet? And you think THEY are a cancer? I would just argue that mankind is not perfect (by any means) and there is no religion out there that doesn't have blood on them (except for Scientology... yet). So please – just put things in perspective, do your research on Google, read a book (or two) on the subject and maybe next time you won't sound like an idiot... or a Nazi. Thanks! = )

      October 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ohreally?

      Just another fine example of the greatest cancer facing the world today: Ignorance. Imagine what a wonderful place the world would be without this virulent filth of an individual who has no knowledge of anything but what they see on television pervading every corner of the planet. More people need to wake up and see just how vile ignorant people are and how much of a threat it poses to not only world peace and stability but basic human decency.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • PleaseDoResearch

      The sad part is, sometimes you have to be a little politically incorrect. Islam is one of the most detrimental forces in the history of the world. The Middle East was light years ahead of the rest of the world in dozens of areas- math, science, agriculture, physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc. until Islam ruined their advancement. You can actually see it happen on a timeline by looking at the names of stars- all of a sudden, there are no new stars discovered with Arabic names.

      That having been said, Christianity is only a little less-bad. Christianity did the same thing to Europe for hundreds of years- knowledge and advancement stopped, funding went to ridiculous churches, and most of people's time was spent on their knees or killing each other over which version of a book they preferred.

      You simply can't just jump on this guy for saying Islam is evil- guess what, it's a terrible force. But so is almost all religion (except probably Buddhism).

      October 31, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
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