Afghan father guns down daughter over ‘affair’

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KABUL–In front of 300 villagers, Halima’s father shot her in the head, stomach and waist — a public execution overseen by local religious leaders in Afghanistan to punish her for an alleged affair.

Halima, aged between 18 and 20 and a mother of two children, was killed for bringing “dishonor” on her family in a case that underlines how the country is still struggling to protect women more than 11 years after the fall of Taliban regime.

Police in the northwestern province of Badghis said Halima was accused of running away with a male cousin while her husband was in Iran, and her father sought advice from Taliban-backed clerics on how to punish her.

“People in the mosque and village started taunting him about her escape with the cousin,” Badghis provincial police chief Sharafuddin Sharaf told AFP.

“A local cleric who runs a madrassa told him that she must be punished with death, and the mullahs said she should be executed in public.

“The father killed his daughter with three shots as instructed by religious elders and in front of villagers. We went there two days later but he and his entire family had fled.”

Amnesty International said the killing, which occurred on April 22 in the village of Kookchaheel in Badghis province, was damning evidence of how little control Afghan police have over many areas of the country.

“Violence against women continues to be endemic in Afghanistan and those responsible very rarely face justice,” Amnesty’s Afghanistan researcher Horia Mosadiq said.

“Not only do women face violence at the hands of family members for reasons of preserving so-called ‘honor’, but frequently women face human rights abuses resulting from verdicts issued by traditional, informal justice systems.”

Police in Baghdis, a remote and impoverished province that borders Turkmenistan, said Halima had run away with her cousin to a village 30 kilometres (20 miles) away.

Her father found her after 10 days and brought her back home, where clerics told him he must kill her in front of the villagers to assuage his family’s humiliation.

A Badghis-based women’s rights activist said he had seen video footage of Hamila’s execution, which AFP was not able to obtain.

“On the video, she is shot three times in front of 300-400 people. Her brother witnesses her death and breaks down in tears,” said the activist, who declined to be named to avoid reprisals.

“She is sitting on her knees in the dust, wearing a large chador veil. A mullah announces her funeral prayers first, then her father shoots her from behind with an AK-47 at a distance of about five meters.

“We have learned that a Taliban shadow governor in the region asked the mullahs to issue the death penalty for her.

“The local religious council first said she should be stoned to death, but since the cousin was not there, they decided that she should be shot.”

It is not known what happened to the cousin with whom she ran away.

The activist added that Halima’s husband had objected to the killing and tried to return from Iran before the execution.

Mirwais Mirzakwal, head of the Badghis provincial government’s media department, confirmed the accounts of how Halima died but gave no further details.

Women in male-dominated Afghanistan still suffer horrendous abuse after the fall of the 1996-2001 Taliban regime, which banned them from attending school or any form of public activity.

Under the Taliban, women risked being beaten if they did not wear full burqas or if they left the house without a male escort.

In 2009, Afghanistan passed a benchmark law criminalizing forced marriage, rape, beatings and other violence against women, but Amnesty and other campaigning groups say it is rarely enforced.

With international troops withdrawing next year, many Afghan women fear any advances made since 2001 will evaporate as the Taliban exert increasing influence at local and national levels.

Badghis police chief Sharaf said officers were investigating Halima’s killing, but no one had yet been arrested.

“We are trying to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said, admitting that authorities had only limited power in villages such as Kookchaheel.

“It is a volatile place and on the border between Badghis and Herat province, and the Taliban is also active.”

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  • Almighty

    Nothing to kill or die for

    And no RELIGION too

    Imagine all the people living life in peace.

    • marionics

      how poignant

    • Horst Manure

      Never have peace while we have religion,this been going on since 300BC when some fool’s decide we needed Gods now we have and had thousands.for Gods and other myths.

  • MNLFoodcritic

    This is something that normally happened in Christian countries hundreds of years ago. But many Islamic countries haven’t moved on yet. Still trapped in the dark ages.

  • dodot24

    No object on the punishment…death. Having an affair should be killed.

    • generalproblem

      the report say the girl only escaped with her cousin. no mention of an affair.

    • Serom

      The woman has a husband already. It should be the husband who has the right and authority to decide if the wife should be killed or not.

  • nicosan fopalan

    stupid tradition…

  • ravindrama

    very sad to Afghan’s..we’re still LUCKY that we have freedom and justice for SALE……

  • kevin linsao

    The people who did this execution is ‘evil’….

  • Serom

    That’s the problem with illiterate and uncultured people.

  • kilabot

    don’t you think
    the same punishment
    may be handed down to lgbt perverts
    for insulting human intelligence?

    • penoy2012

      No. They deserve 2 bullets only, not 3.

  • joboni96

    respect their values

    as you respect the imperialist u.s.
    killing civilians remotely using drones

  • Keith_P

    Very similar to Catholic bishops and priests. The only difference is instead of death by gunfire, they condemn “sinners” to death by hellfire.

  • Mamang Pulis

    typical mentality of people living in dark ages…

  • jess ravalo

    How you all be judgemental. By the measure you measure others, thou shalt be measured.

  • Mux

    How can a FATHER kill his own DAUGHTER, no matter what she has done is beyond me! I would do anything to protect my daughters, even give my own life. I would plead to kill ME instead! That’s what a real father would do.

  • txtman SUPOTiful Bading

    …and all in the name of God. Nice.

  • WAJ

    The Islam way of living. Father will take away life of their daughter’s (in public) for the sake of their faith to Allah. And that’s so very primitive, un civilize, and Satanic.

  • Eddie AAA Calderon

    This is a typical example of double standard. If the person doing it were a man, nothing would be said by the religious clerics about him let alone have him executed. This shows that in that country embracing that type of religion women will always be subordinate to their male counterparts.

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