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. troy

    Ohh, golly gee, those silly middle eastern terrorists!

    October 18, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • CosmicC

      Get a map, figure out where the mid east is, where Afghanistan is, and then re-post.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jerry

    Reason number one billion and one to get out of there.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • lookbothweis

      So hold on... women being horribly abused by their own people is a REASON we should get out of there and leave them to it?

      October 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bad Guy

    Funny story. Brightened my day for sure.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Christian

    CNN, you SPINELESS news media! This is not life in Afganistan!!!! This is life under islamic rule EVERYWHERE! You spineless people at CNN , fearful to tell the truth!

    October 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dennis

    Remember this when some liberal tells you to embrace multiculturalism and celebrate diversity..

    October 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      it is the conservative who want to keep women down

      October 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert A Booey

    Let me get this straight....

    If a married woman commits adultry she is beheaded.
    If a woman doesn't want to commit adultry she is beheaded.

    Where are the level headed people in this country and why do they not stand up for themselves? Are we here in the U.S. the only people to ever stand up against tyranny (see American Revolution). Maybe the sane people living in that country have left, and I would understand that. For those living there I just don't understand why they remain doormats for these backwards, monkey bar climbing, 3rd century theocrats whose most feared enemy are 14 yr old school girls. These idiots should be easy pickins' for anybody with even a basic understanding of what is right and what is wrong. It's maddening and apparently nothing will ever change over there.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michael

    It is NOT the job of the USA to fix all these broken countries and their beliefs. Yes it is tragic what happens however one the USA gets its act together then we should help the UN in situations like this.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The Last American

    Why Should America even worry about people in another country . We have these problems here but you dont see our goverment doing much about it but giving someone a few years in prison then there out on the streets again . I didnt see where its a threat againest America . We need to worry more about our own Country then other countries . but yes i do feel sorry for anyone who has to go threw this , the USA isnt the police of the world

    October 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. troy

    Romney must be getting ideas from this.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bigboard

    The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Honey Boo Boo has endorsed Obama. Wish I was as smart and clever as you think you are.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse Pinkman

      My 6 year old Nephew endorses Sponge Bob Square Pants.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • TRON

      Mo Roc Obama!

      October 19, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
    • TeddyN

      Funny how you trying to change the subject. Must be one of thos republicans that think women should stay quiet and not have a voice in anything

      October 19, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • JAB62

      And I heard that Mitt Romney is interested in Honey Boo Boo's mom for his second wife.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • fsjunkie

      You're threatened by "Honey Boo Boo", and you don't think that's a problem?

      October 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • pcm

      Lesson: No need to give the whole head when requested to just give a little head !

      October 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • kelly

      who watches honey boo? quit glamorizing these hicks!

      October 20, 2012 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
    • j

      To get rid of the first world problem, we need to ship honey boo boo to Afghanistan. hahaha

      October 22, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • VenividDejaVu

      .....yeah and Lindsey Lohan is supporting Romney. What is your point?

      October 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. william

    They should all be strapped down and have their heads sawed off.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robert

    Co-exist????? HA! They can't co-exist amongst themselves. The stone age never ended over there.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff Cox

    Did CNN recently merge with the National Enquirer? If so, then I missed the announcement.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan

    Another day in Afghanistan.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. angeson

    Aint that an eye 4 an eye neighborhood? Bring our kids home,these primates are their own worst enemy.

    October 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
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