Events in Afghanistan continue to confirm that the plan to impose American values through the force of arms and flow of American dollars is truly a pipe dream. In the heartland of the Taliban it is regularly taken for granted that Western notions of human rights are dismissed as an attempt to foist Christian values on a Muslim nation. Now, the reprehensible murder of a young bride is the latest fact emphasizing the systemic disregard for the rights of women in Afghanistan.
A 20-year-old woman identified as Mahgul lived in Herat in western Afghanistan. Her brief life came to its end when her mother-in-law and her husband’s cousin murdered her by decapitating her with a knife, leaving her body outside her marital home. According to NBC News, the four individuals arrested for her murder also included her husband and her father-in-law.
What motivated the mother-in-law to demand, and help carry out, the murder of Mahgul? The young woman refused to work as a prostitute. As NBC News reports, the husband’s cousin defended his involvement as simply following orders:
The 18-year-old, identified only as Najibullah, confessed to the crime in front of reporters and television cameras, saying his aunt, Parigul, forced him to kill Mahgul.
“My uncle’s wife told me I should kill this person,” he told reporters. “I couldn’t kill her. She told me, ‘if you can’t kill her, then help me do it.’ She forced me and I helped her.”
He described how his aunt held Mahgul down by the legs as he beheaded her. Najibullah said his aunt told him she wanted the bride dead "'because she doesn’t listen to me.'"
Police said their investigation has led them to conclude Mahgul was killed because she refused to become a prostitute and that during her four months of marriage she was repeatedly pressured by her mother-in-law to sleep with other men.
Mahgul’s tragic death was hardly an isolated case. In the same region, the body of a 30-year-old woman was found with her ears, nose, and fingers cut off.
According to the NBC News story, the treatment of women in the Herat region is actually getting worse:
The Herat region, which borders Iran, was once known for its liberal treatment of women but has become increasingly conservative in the past decade.
At least 700 cases of violence against Herat women have been documented in the past year, according to estimates by the Department of Women’s Affairs in Herat. Cases include domestic violence, torture, murder and physical mutilation.
The horrific death of one more young woman in Afghanistan encapsulates the meaning of the growing radicalization that is taking place in that country.