Reports of violence against women continue in Afghanistan

2012-12-04 04:42:03 GMT2012-12-04 12:42:03(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

By Abdul Haleem, Hamnawa

KABUL, Dec. 4 (Xinhua)-- The blood-soaked body of 18-year-old Nasrin was surrounded by her mother and about a dozen of her relatives and neighbors in their house in Kunduz, some 250 kilometers north of Kabul.

All they could do was cry because they could not expect justice from the violent death of the young woman.

Nasrin had been engaged to a man some nine months ago and her death last Sunday was unexpected and shocking.

Her death was the latest in a series of violence against Afghan women perpetrated by criminals using age-old tradition and warped interpretation of Islamic justice. "It was 09:00 a.m. local time and we were sitting around table to have breakfast but suddenly a gunshot was heard from neighboring room. We rushed there and found Nasrin lying in a pool of blood,"one neighbor said.

Atta Mohammad, Nasrin's father, said he had no idea who killed his daughter, adding that he had no problem with her. However, Nasrin's mother refused to say anything.

Nasrin's murder is the latest case of violence against women that has happened in the male-dominated and conservative Afghanistan.

Afghan Minister for Women Affairs Husan Bano Ghazanfar confirmed last week that 3,500 cases of violence against women had been registered in Afghanistan in the first six months of Afghan year which began from March 21, 2012.

In Kunduz province alone, according to women rights' activists, 12 women and girls have been killed so far this year.

Just two days ago, a man beheaded a young girl in Imam Sahib District of Kunduz province after the girl's father refused to let him marry his daughter.

The police have arrested two people for their alleged involvement in the brutal murder of the innocent girl but the authorities have yet to publicly hand down a punishment that the criminals deserve.

Women in Afghanistan are facing variety of discrimination and violence ranging from child marriage, forced marriage, rape, polygamy and even "baad," a tribal custom of giving forcibly the hand of a widow or girl to a man from an opposing tribe to settle a dispute and end enmity.

Afghanistan, according to women activists, is a challenging country for women to live. Discrimination against women, particularly in the countryside, is still rampant. A girl can be forced to marry a boy chosen by her parents.

Cases of public execution of women, flogging of women by Taliban militants and powerful tribal leaders have been reported in parts of Afghanistan over the past year.

Najiba, 22, was publicly executed by Taliban militants in Ghorband district of Parwan province a couple of months ago while Sabira was publicly lashed in Jaghori district of Ghazni province by local mullahs months ago after she eloped with her boyfriend.

Although women's rights have seen considerable improvement in Afghanistan over the past 11 years, the Afghan women still need more years and a long way to restore their status as active members in society.

Meantime, Nadira Gia, director of Women Affairs Department in Kunduz province, has called on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on Nasrin's case and arrest and punish the perpetrators. "I am calling on the international community, civil societies and women rights' activists to pay attention to the plight of Afghan women and help them in their campaign to bring about an end to violence against women in Afghanistan," Gia told the press in a hospital where the body of Nasrin had been taken for autopsy.

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