Dec 8 2011
Afghan Muslims pour acid on faces of three sisters and their parents, because eldest refused forced marriage to an old warlord
Afghan gunmen burst into a family home – where they poured acid over the father, his wife and their three daughters – to scar the girls, in the belief that no one will now want to marry them.
UK DAILY MAIL (H/T Susan K) Officials said the oldest daughter Mumtaz, 18, had been pursued by a local gunman who the family considered a ‘troublemaker’ and a ‘bully’. With her parents support, she turned him down and instead got engaged to a relative.
But, a few weeks later, six or seven armed men burst into their home in the Bulk Awal area of the northern Kunduz city – the largest in the region – in the middle of the night. One man beat up the girl’s parents with a club. Mumtaz and her two sisters, aged 14 and 13, were guarded by two other men and told not to make a sound while their parents were beaten.
It is unclear whether they were sexually abused. The men then poured acid on the mother’s hands, before spraying all three girls liberally with the corrosive chemical. ‘First they beat her father and then they attacked with acid,’ said Mumtaz’s mother, who asked not to be identified. All five are now receiving medical treatment, said Abdul Shokor Rahimi, head of the Kunduz regional hospital.
Rahimi said: ‘The father and oldest daughter are in critical condition as they have been attacked all over the body. Their mother and two daughters who are 14 and 13 have some wounds only in hands and faces.’
Ghulam Mohammad Farhad, the senior police detective for Kunduz, promised to track down the attackers, who he called immoral and irresponsible. He said: ‘We have started an investigation and those who have attacked them will be prosecuted.’
Nadira Geya, the provincial head of women’s affairs, added: ‘They wanted to prevent the wedding. They threw acid into the girl’s face so that no one else would marry her. The 18-year-old was badly hurt. They threw acid on her face, on her hands, her body and her feet.
The family also has a son, but he was not at the house during the attack and is unharmed.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said it was treating the attack with ‘utmost seriousness’ and had already arrested one suspect. A spokesman said: ‘We have arrested one person so far and we have identified two other suspects. If convicted, they will face the highest possible sentence.’
Acid is used intermittently as a weapon in Afghanistan, but not always against women. In the conservative, and Taliban influenced south and east, it has been thrown at girls attending schools.