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Afghanistan’s Terrorized Women

Ten years after the end of Taliban leadership, Afghanistan's women live in an environment in which domestic violence, torture, and lack of freedom are the norm. Will the authorities educate the public and prosecute the perpetrators, or will Afghanistan continue to be a world leader in human-rights abuses and oppression of women?

KABUL – Recently, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) office in Kudoz province reported the rescue of a young woman who had been imprisoned in her in-laws’ dungeon for seven months. Fifteen-year-old Sahar Gul was forced to marry an older man who serves in the Afghan army. She was then kept in the dungeon by her husband’s family and brutally tortured for months, because she refused to work as a prostitute.

Over the past ten years, the AIHRC has received more than 19,000 complaints related to violence against women. Despite making some progress in investigating the complaints and referring them to the justice system, as well as in raising public awareness about the issue, the challenges remain huge.

Since 2002, many efforts have been made to improve women’s lives in Afghanistan. The country has enacted several new laws and established a fairly advanced legal framework to end discrimination against women, including a new law that criminalizes any act that results in violence against women.

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