The Unending War on Afghan Women

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank's work at his blog,www.politicallyunbalanced.com.


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The “honor beheading” of an Afghan woman and her two children is but the latest act of barbarism in the escalating and seemingly never-ending violence being levied upon Afghanistan’s women and girls.

The latest victims of the Afghan war on women were a 30-year-old woman named Serata and her eight-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter, all of whom had their heads cleaved from their bodies by Serata’s divorced husband, Mohammad Arif.

While Serata appeared to be the sole target of Arif’s revenge, according to Afghan police, after her children saw their father burst into their home in Ghazni province and “take their mother’s head off, he killed them too.”

Serata and her children’s horrific deaths were prompted because she had apparently “dishonored” Arif’s familial reputation by divorcing him last year after suffering through a decade of abuse, a stain so great that it necessitated Arif’s act of bloody vengeance.

Sadly, this horrific crime appears to be only the latest in a rapidly growing wave of “honor killings” plaguing Afghan women and girls, a swell that saw 17 such killings reported across Afghanistan in March and April alone.

Those cases include a 22-year-old woman choked to death by her husband in Kunduz province; a 40-year-old woman beheaded by her husband in Khost province; and a 26-year-old woman in Baghlan province who was first choked to death and then burned up with boiling hot water.

Like Serata, seeking a divorce can lead a woman to her death at the hands of an aggrieved husband or relative. Yet women slated for honor killings can also include those who have married a man of their own choosing; had any contact with an unrelated male; dated a Christian; openly flirted; or adopted Western ways of dress and behavior.

However, acts over which a woman has no control, such as being the victim of rape, can also provoke an honor killing.

In February, Estorai, a 22-year-old mother of two, was strangled to death by her husband for her failure to produce a male offspring. Unhappy that their firstborn was a girl, Estorai’s husband had warned that he would kill her if she gave him another daughter, a deadly promise he kept within weeks after Estorai gave birth to their second daughter.

In June, Gulsika, a 20-year-old woman in Kandahar province, was shot by her husband for her failure to conceive, even though doctors who had examined her said it was her husband — and not Gulsika — who was the one unable to have children.

Yet, while the rise in Afghan honor killings has been on a meteoric rise of late, overall violent attacks on women and girls throughout Afghanistan have also dramatically increased.

To some, the resurgence in violence has been attributed to the Taliban extending its reach across Afghanistan and bringing with them the brutal yoke it had placed on Afghan women during its five-year rule of the country from 1996 -2001.

That Taliban reign subjected Afghan women to a Hobbesian nightmare of public floggings and executions if they, among other things, failed to wear a head-to-toe burqa; worked outside their homes or even left their homes unaccompanied by a close male relative; laughed loudly; or were photographed or filmed.

This Taliban-brand of female stewardship was on display in a gruesome video recently taken in a village in Parwan province in which a Taliban member is seen shooting a kneeling woman accused of adultery five times in the head with an automatic rifle.

Before the shots struck the women’s head, a male voice in the background intoned, “Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it’s the wrong way. It is the order of Allah that she be executed.” To that refrain, a cheering throng of over 150 male villagers chanted, “Long live the Afghan mujahideen!”

It should be noted that while the woman had been charged with the “crime” of adultery, she was in fact the discarded pawn of two Taliban commanders, both of whom had been sexually involved with her before deciding to torture her and then kill her to settle a dispute between the two of them.

Yet, while the Taliban may indeed be largely responsible for the latest rise in violence, the actions of the brutal Islamists are being abetted by the many Muslim men in Afghanistan who have long been treating women and girls little better than human chattel.

The UN reports that nearly 90 percent of Afghan women suffer from some form of domestic violence. That abuse includes being given away to pay family debts or settle disputes as well as forced child marriage, the latter practice which has led to over half of the marriages in Afghanistan involving girls under the age of 16.

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  • davarino

    Backwoods Ret@rds

    Thats all

  • PhillipGaley

    When the Australians went into New Guinea, the commanding officer bought a pig and shot it in the sight of some tribal leaders, telling them the while that, if cannibalism continued, the fate of the pig would be put upon them; and cannibalism in New Guinea, ceased.

    I think, as Archbishop Trench said, these tribal nations have gone as far as they could without the word of G0D, and now are to be brought back into fellowship with the rest of mankind.

    The lesser nations continue at the grace of the superior nations; until they are able to function under the civil law, they are to be in a status of pupilage. In allowing Islam, the Taliban, and other of the backwardly vicious elements to continue unchecked—as has been the case in Afghanistan—I would say that, the Western powers are grossly remiss, . . .

  • Ain't No Dhimmi

    Hilary Clinton might speak up but she is too busy breastfeeding her muslim male co-workers with our tax dollars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.a.caskey Robert A Caskey

    How STUPID are these SCUM? The man determines the sex of the baby, not the women, the man should commit suicide if he fathers two girls, not kill the mother, they are BARBARIANS!!!!

  • TV sucks

    Can't wait to see the show 'Kourtney & Kim (and Kanye?) Take Kandahar'. I suspect it will only last one episode, but what an episode!!!

  • BS77

    One of the great tragedies is that over two thousand Americans have been killed in Afghanistan in the ten years plus …attempting to bring this barbaric hell hole into the Modern Age. Many more of our American troops are injured for life ….and look at Afghanistan ( I have been there)….LIttle , if anything has changed or improved. I feel sorry for the poor women and children of that terrible place. It must be awful to be a young woman living in Afghanistan….just awful.

  • Lan Astaslem

    Where are all the western "feminists"? Surely this is a cause worthy of attention.

    • Western Spirit

      Where are the western feminists? Why criticizing the West, of course. They aren't about improving the lives of women. They are about bringing down the West because most of them are useful idiots.

    • Joe Ordinary

      Don't even get me started on those hags.

    • anya

      We are trying, and getting shot down frequently. So far I have been told it was good that the Prophet had sex when his wife turned 9 because Islamic scholars and her father said so.

  • samsgran1948

    The Western "feminists" are far too busy fighting the scourge of female characters in kids books being transformed into male characters on the big screen — or so I have been informed by one such feminist.

  • Celestine

    An aunt of mine was subjected to physical abuse by her husband. One day she decided she had had enough. She got a large sharp kitchen knife, held it up for her husband to see, and told him "You have to sleep sometime." There was no further abuse during the next few decades of their marriage. Too bad the women of Afghanistan are not similarly inclined.

    • valhalla

      My thoughts exactly -if more of these poor unfortunate women stood up to these -grubbs they might be frightened to sleep -what can they lose -their lives are a misery anyway,I would not be able to live as they do -no rights -freedom -treated worse than a dog,how dare they treat women as they do ,they are so sexually frustrated they blame women for all -their inadequasies,don't blame the -feminists -we are all to blame for not stopping this evil ideology -it is spreading like the plague through out the world – because of the politically correct and those who ingraite themselves with it .

    • Monk

      The afghan man would have simply executed your aunt on the spot and rightly so. Then he would have gone out and married a sweet 6 year old girl (not woman). He would tell his friends that the milk ran sour and he had to get a new fresh carton.

      In America and in south east Asia men are captive animals. Women in most of the world are the masters.
      In Afghanistan the males are real. I wish them well and I hope the American soldiers adopt their ways having learned what is good (sweet young girls) and what is bad and how to brutally deal with women who are violent or threaten violence.

  • Diann

    We cannot blame the victims. There is nowhere for these women to run… their families will kill them for challenging their husband. The religion endorses this treatment of women. Read Nonie Darwish's – Cruel and Usual Punishment. It will clearly tell you what life holds for Muslim women. It's done in the name of Allah. Only a complete rejection of that horrific religion will result in safety for women. Not that the West is perfect – but at least if a man kills his wife he'll face prison. In Islam he is celebrated for defending his honour. And – he can kill any woman in his family and be congratulated for it. We have to get our people OUT of these places – it's totally irresponsible of the government to have allowed all the deaths and injuries to our soldiers, in a battle that will never be won… All we can do is step up the determination to keep them out of the West.. and that is a battle we seem to be losing because of a government that promotes Islam, Sharia, Muslim Brotherhood and all things Islamic.

    • Cheryl

      Well said Diann!!!! Time for us to leave. There is nothing that can be done, and it will never change!

    • curmudgeon

      when will afghan women, as well as all other muslim women figure out that every male they produce is just another viper to be clasped to some, or several, womens busom? if muslim women had any sense at all, every male baby would be a poor victim of a tragic crib death, and future generations of muslim women and infidels of both genders would be spared the poisonous evil of muslim men. get rid of the men, and muslim women would drop islam like a red-hot horseshoe. only pain there, no gain, for muslim women.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Feminists are totally selfless. They are willing to forget their own cause in order to do the most important thing in the world–opposing Israel. If they spoke against Islam and its treatment of women, people might (shudder) think Israel wasn't really all that bad.

  • waterwillows

    Islam is barbaric to women in any country it is found. That is the nature of the beast and it is unlikely to change.
    Yet with all the hell and slaughter that Islam imposes on females, the Afghani's have managed to impose an outstanding level of putrid aggression towards females.

    There is an underlying cause for this evil. The saying in this country; women are for babies; boys are for pleasure.
    The nation of Afghanistan has re-directed the males sexual preferance and women are of little worth, except for birthing babies. And it had better be boy babies that they birth for their pleasure.

    A re-directing of sexual preferance will not tolerate any 'competition' from females. Hence the enforcement of gross buka covering and total confinement to the house. She is not to ever been seen and it not to be educated.

    In the midst of many horrors inflicted upon women in the name of Islam; the Afghani's stand out for brutality.

  • logdon

    When British girls are raped by multiple numbers of Pakistanis and our police turn a blind eye to 'avoid being seen as racist' what chance do these women stand?

    I hate to say it but we really have to realise that's what Muslims do. It's in the cultural DNA.

    We have to deal with honour killing and violence in our own backyards first and the way we cave in even on home ground offers little hope to these poor women.

  • curmudgeon

    all sympathy aside for the poor abused women of afghanistan……i have a son that is soon to be sent to afghanistan by an islamic traitor to our country. said traitor has already conceded defeat in afghanistan, but he wont do the one reasonable thing after conceding defeat—just stop the bleeding. my son is a hostage to be sent to afghanistan in attempt by that traitor in chief to get reelected, so he can betray our country for another 4 years. i care more for my son than for all the abused women in afghanistan, who are being betrayed by their own beloved islamic men. my son is being betrayed by his commander in chief, whose reelection is more important than our mens lives. a pox on our traitor in chief. sympathy for the abused women of afghanistan, and the hope that they will start doing the only reasonable thing—-poison their evil men, and be free from them.

    • waterwillows

      When a nation has changed it's sexual preferance, there is little women and children can do but endure if possible.

      This is something the west needs to take note of and do their due digilence about sexual preferance. What door are they opening?

  • Moritz

    And this is what we are trying to educate? And help to civilize? Get our troops out as fast as possible. The Russians were not able to do anything, democracy certainly will not do for them. They are corrupt in their government, in their ethics, uneducated and above all cruel, with no feelings. The future depends on education for all, and a nomcorrupt government. Untill than many lives are will be lost, unfortunately. Maybe they would listen to world opinion

  • hannah prema

    THE MALES ARE TO BE CASTERATED Instead OF KILLING THE INNOCENT GIRLS AND WOMEN! the men are not human at all………THEY ARE BABARIANS AND UNCIVILIZED::LOT……ONLY THEIR ALLAH MUST PUNISH THEM AND BURN THEM ALIVE……………..and can feel the pain.!! Come allah and punish them!

  • James Das

    I wonder what the Koran says about the treatment of Islamic women? I don't have a copy and I am curious to see if the word respect, protect and honor are there with regards to the treatment of Islamic women in Afghanistan. Such attrocious bullying can be stopped if the President and the Cabinet Ministers make Rights for Women a LAW. If they don't want to do that then they themselves are guilty of condescending such brutality and the unfair treatment of the weak and the oppressed. If in their constitution there is no LAWS to protect the women and children, then Afghanistan may well be called "Hells Gates"on the world map.

  • Monk

    Look how it changes. Now the woman was a discarded pawn. Nope she 2timed the men. Deuteronomy says that if a man has a woman (is her master) and she lies with another man kill her and the other. She is killed. Deut was obeyed to some degree. Also the marrying raped young girls is also from deut. The afghans should reject Islam and take up Deuteronomy. It suits them more. In deut the man is master in Islam he is a bloody pile of stumps. Christianity also traditionally disempowers males and cuts off their Liam's for any crime(x causes you to sin cut it off) same with Hinduism. Deut is the only religion I know of that is humane and nice to males. Including letting them have nice girls.