October 24, 2013

AFGHANISTAN: Afghan Woman’s Family ‘Behead Her And Her Lover And Dump Their Bodies In Graveyard In Horrific Honour Killing

The Daily Mail, UK
written by Staff
Wednesday October 23, 2013

A young couple in conservative southern Afghanistan have been found beheaded, apparently killed for having a love affair outside of marriage, officials said Wednesday.

Police investigating the case said they believed the family of the woman, aged around 20, was responsible for the murders in the southern province of Helmand, a lawless hotbed of the Taliban insurgency.

The elder brother of the male victim, who was in his 20s, told officers the woman had run away with him recently and was living in their family home.

On Monday, 10 men broke into the house near the provincial capital Lashkar Gah and kidnapped the pair, police official Mohammad Ismail Hotak told AFP.

'On Tuesday, local residents reported that there were two bodies in the graveyard. We went there and found them. Both were beheaded,' he said.

'From our investigations, we have found that the two had a love affair. We believe the family and relatives of the girl are behind the killing.'

The police official said the brother told investigators the dead man had loved the woman and wanted to marry her.

Omar Zwak, the provincial governor's spokesman, confirmed the incident and said an investigation was under way.

Relations between young men and women outside marriage are taboo in Afghanistan, an extremely conservative nation with deep Islamic beliefs.

Most marriages are arranged by family elders, in some cases without the couples being consulted.

A man attempting to establish relations with a woman is seen as an insult to her family's honour and often leads to violent revenge.

In such cases, the woman is often also killed for supposedly bringing shame to the family.


So-called 'honour killings' became culturally engrained in Afghanistan during the Taliban's hard-lined, punitive, conservative rule from 1996 to late 2001.

The entrenched belief is that girls and women bring shame upon their family if they do not marry a man chosen for them by their parents.

Often, girls are married off before they have reached puberty, to men old enough to be their grandparents.

Women who naturally fall in love with someone not chosen for them are said to bring 'shame' on the family.

There have even been cases of women being murdered or their faces burned with acid for simply looking at men.

Often, the killings are carried out by the family of the woman, or sometimes by contractors or children who are too young to be prosecuted.

Beheadings, being stoned to death and being buried alive are some of the recent reported murders.

The Afghan government has long said it is committed to changing this barbaric entrenched culture, but campaigners warn the problem is systemic and will take years to overcome.

Considerable progress has been made since the collapse of Taliban rule in 2001 but changing attitudes could take decades.

Last year, the UN reported that cases of honour killings were on the rise - a 20 per cent increase in civilian casualties was reported among women and girls in Afghanistan in 2012.

Police and judiciary, particularly in rural southern parts of the country where the Taliban are most powerful, have been blamed for failing to properly prosecute perpetrators.

There is also a lack of awareness among women of their rights.

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