Afghanistan Couple Cut Off Cleric's Nose, Ears In Revenge For Sex Attack Allegations

Apr 29, 2014 | Updated Jun 29, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Zakaria Nasiri

BAGHLAN MARKAZI, Afghanistan, April 29 (Reuters) - Afghan police have arrested the parents of a 14-year-old girl after they attacked a religious cleric and cut off his nose and ears in retaliation for what they say were a series of sexual attacks on their daughter.

Right activists say there has been a sharp rise in violent attacks against women in the deeply conservative Muslim country, where women have fought hard to gain rights after the collapse of Taliban government in 2001.

Restoring women's rights after the Taliban was ousted by a U.S.-led coalition of troops was cited as one of the main objectives of the war.

The provincial head of women's affairs, Khadija Yaqeen, told Reuters that the girl had told her parents four months ago she had been assaulted.

The father invited the mullah to his house on Monday for dinner, police said.

"I cut off his ears and nose," her father Abdul Qahar, dressed in a traditional shalwar kameez and a turban, said from the police chief's office in the northern Baghlan province.

"I don't know if a cat ate his ears, but his nose went down the drain," he told Reuters, speaking in the Dari language

Police arrested the girl's parents on Tuesday. Ahmad Jawid Basharat, a police spokesman in Baghlan, said Qahar had tied the cleric's hands and feet and cut off his nose and an ear as an act of revenge.

The 32-year-old cleric denied he had assaulted the girl. Police said they have opened a case against him.

Religious, or sharia, law often holds sway over contitutional law in some parts of rural Afghanistan.

"If there was a functioning rule of law, then he would be punished even more severely," said the girl's mother, Sultana, wearing a traditional all-covering burqa.

There is growing fear among many people in Afghanistan that the withdrawal of NATO-led forces and efforts to reach a political agreement with the Taliban to end the 12-year-old war could undermine hard-won freedoms for women.

The hardline Islamist government banned girls from attending school when it ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, and during the insurgency its militants have regularly bombed girls' schools built with U.S. money. (Aditional reporting by Mirwais Harooni in Kabul; Writing by Jeremy Laurence)

Also on HuffPost:

  • Getty Images
    Afghan residents gather outside a closed voter registration center to try to receive their voter cards a day after registration ended for the forthcoming presidential election in the northwestern city of Herat on April 2, 2014. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Afghan supporters run to get a good spot near the stage to see Afghan presidential candidate Abudullah Abdullah speak at an election rally on the last day of campaigning by presidential candidates on the outskirts of Kabul, April 2, 2014. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An Afghan election worker prepares to load plastic boxes containing election material onto a truck at a warehouse for polling stations in Kandahar on April 2, 2014. (BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Afghan election workers load plastic boxes containing election material onto a truck at a warehouse for polling stations in Kandahar on April 2, 2014. (BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Afghan women push wheelbarrows filled with jerry cans past electoral posters on a street in Kandahar on April 1, 2014. (BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An Afghan cyclist rides past a wall with an election-themed mural and slogan in Kandahar on April 1, 2014. (BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah speaks with schoolgirls during a campaign rally at a stadium in the northwestern city of Herat on April 1, 2014. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Afghan supporters of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai wave flags bearing his image during an election rally at the Ghazi Stadium in Kabul on April 1, 2014. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    A pigeon sits on the tri-colour Afghan flag during the campaign rally of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah at a stadium in the northwestern city of Herat on April 1, 2014. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An Afghan man watches the crowd supporting presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah during a campaign rally at a stadium in the northwestern city of Herat on April 1, 2014. (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An Afghan election worker sorts empty ballot boxes for distribution at a warehouse in Mazar-i-Sharif, before election material kits were sent to different polling stations around Balkh province in northern Afghanistan on April 1, 2014. (FARSHAD USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Afghan schoolgirls stand onstage in front of their country's coat-of-arms as they prepare to sing the national anthem during a campaign event for Habiba Surabi, the second vice-president candidate running on the ticket of presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul, at a local hall in Kabul on March 31, 2014. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah (C) waves to supporters as he arrives for a political rally in Dashtak, Afghanistan, on March 31, 2014. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)
  • AP
    An Afghan soldier (left) and a policeman peek through a window as they queue with others to get their registration card, on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections, outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • AP
    An Afghan woman sits on destroyed school benches as she waits to get her registration card on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • AP
    A child pulls a rope which keeps Afghan women in line queuing to get their registration card, on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections, outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
  • AP
    An Afghan man waits to have his picture taken for his registration card, on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections, outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)