As if the recent report that an Afghan rape victim was jailed for adultery and pressured to marry her attacker wasn't awful enough, now there's another horrifying story drawing attention to the plight of women in the country. Afghan authorities say they've rescued a 15-year-old girl who was kept in her in-laws basement for the past six months and severely tortured because she resisted when they tried to force her into prostitution.
CNN reports that about seven months ago, Sahar Gul was married to a 30-year-old man who lives in the northern Baghlan province. Gul's parents didn't see her for months, and finally her uncle called the police last week. An official says:
After police rescued her from a dark room of her in-laws' house, we saw her nails had been pulled out by her husband. And she said with broken voice that her husband used to cut her flesh using pliers.
Authorities believe her in-laws also starved her, broke her fingers, and burned her with hot irons.
Gul's mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been arrested and police are still looking for her husband. Officials say they began torturing her after "they tried to force her into prostitution and she did not agree." Gul has been sent to India for medical treatment and will be questioned more when she's recovered.
President Hamid Karzai said whoever injured Gul will be punished, and Sediq Sediqi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, added, "It is a violent act that is unacceptable in the 21st century." Though government officials said they were shocked by the incident, human rights activists pointed out that while this case is extreme, crimes against women aren't unusual in the country. Abuses like domestic violence, child marriage, rape and the selling and buying women were criminalized after the fall of the Taliban, but these crimes are still rampant. Plus, the U.N. found that even when these incidents are reported, very few are pursued by Afghan authorities.