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. Planet Kolob

    All fundamentalism is bad- not just fundamentalism in other countries run by sand people.

    I see little difference between the violent extremism of the Taliban, and the violent extremism taught in most protestant megachurches, or in the Vatican.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wondering

      I suggest you see an optometrist soon

      October 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Planet Bobknob,
      If you can't see the difference, then you are a theophobic idiot. I suspect you do see the difference but can't miss an opportunity to run interference for jihadists/islamists/sharia-ists/whatever because you share a common enemy with them (Christians, Jews, the West, colonialists, who knows?). In the end, you don't mind throwing the victims of the world's sickest ideology under the bus if you think it makes you look superior to whatever parochial enemies you imagine you have. Childish, narssacistic ... just plain sad.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. westsacvoice

    We went to Afghanistan to liberate them from the Taliban and such horrible treatment. We've been there for more than 10 years. Yet we can't influence or teach people about basic human rights and democracy we claim is important in the world. We can't also enforce human rights and protect the innocent.

    When we leave, is the only thing we are leaving there are our weapons and military training?

    October 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lantenec

    I need to get ahead....

    October 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Dead or alive .30% discount on the dead one .

      October 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Planet Kolob

    This just in: Redneck welfare queen/ evangelical racist tea party proponent with 16 children kills one of them because they didn't "bring me mah weyull fahr cheyuck so ah can bah sum whiskeh"

    October 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Piglet

    Once the world inhabitants realizes that there is no supreme being watching us, the world will be a better place. 99.9% of the animals on earth are there, just us humans need to get with the program

    October 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. surfy6

    Yep another story about our peace loving, as dictated by their religion, friends in the Middle East; you know, the ones that we just don't seem to understand because we're such infidels and heathens.
    Get out of there, restrict their travel from coming here for ANY reason, and encourage the ones that are here to go home, by ANY legal means.
    These people are nuckin futz!

    October 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Planet Kolob

    Romney holds the same views as the Taliban on issues like women's rights, gay rights, reproductive rights, equality, racial minorities...

    October 18, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Planet Kolob

    If Mitt "Constantly reference god as the reason I hate civil rights" Romney was a muslim, he'd be a prime candidate for a voluntary commander in Al Qaida.

    The fact that people have such a problem with islamic extremism, but show no problems with christian extremism, is amusing.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mimi of Toronto

    Talibans are insufferable animals – not humans because they don't value life, period. Their influence & control have brought so much suffering, in particular for women. They are uneducated and therefore, can't stand the idea of women getting educated and appear superior than them. Sad. Afghan government really should put their heads together and set some strong punishable law against these horrific acts. The guilty party always gets away and that's why this continues to happen. Education and strong strict laws are the answer for real change in Afghan.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jay

    THIS is what the UN should be paying attention to – and there should be a world human rights standard guaranteeing women protection from this kind of abuse at the international level. Any country found to be in violation (or excusing such abuse on religious grounds) should incur automatic, brutally draconian sanctions until they join the 21st century. This level of ignorance exists only because it is tolerated, or a blind eye is turned toward it. It has to stop.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Would you support the UN coming to the USA to force the Republicans to give gays and women their rights here?

      October 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Commentator

      Do you really think that the U.N. could stop this kind of horrible stuff from happening in a country where even the U.S. and other NATO forces are still not able to control and eliminate the radical extremism after 10 years of intensive war? Get real.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. felix el gato

    Isn't Islam great?

    October 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Planet Kolob

    No I am a paid Pakistani troll. I work for the Pakistani government. I post under many, many different aliases such as krm1007 etc. You could spot me anytime based on my ridiculous posts. Most of the time, I talk to myself under different aliases because nobody else would care to respond to what I say.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitt Romney

      I am from Pakistan?

      That would make sense if I was a muslim- I hate allahu snackbar and his son moo ham head as much as I hate jebus christmas or moo-sess

      October 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. snowdogg

    We just can't remove the 7th century mindset of these people.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Yes, extremists never learn- the christians have the same problem, as well as the orthodox jews.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wisc

      @planet When was the last time that a christian or a jew beheaded someone? The same? Don't think so.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Planet Kolob


    Guns, god, and glory- the same tired mantra of every standing oppressor since the times of ancient Persia or Babylon.

    October 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Kolob

      Jack, sad FOX ousted commentors from their site in usual fascist mode?

      Funny, I am standing the line against fascist Twit Rommel and his gang of Bush era goons.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rufusmoiseemah


    October 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
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