Afghan soldier stabs sister in ‘honour killing’

Former politician from Badakhshan blames police for mishandling the case

Activists say violence against women remains high across Afghanistan. Reuters
Activists say violence against women remains high across Afghanistan. Reuters

An Afghan soldier stabbed his teenage sister to death after she rejected a marriage proposal arranged by her family, police said on Tuesday.

The woman, 18, was killed Monday in Baharak district of the north-eastern province of Badakhshan.

Her brother later fled to a Taliban-controlled area, provincial police spokesman Sanaullah Rohani said.

Mr Rohani said the victim was first throttled with a rope then stabbed to death.

He said police had launched a search operation to arrest her brother.

The victim wanted to marry a man she loved but her family wanted her to marry someone else, Badakhshan activist Asifa Karimi said.

“She rejected her family's proposal and handed herself in to the police, but the police gave her back to her family,” Ms Karimi said.

“Her brother, a soldier, took her home and killed her brutally in a case of 'honour killing'.”

Parts of Afghan society operate under a strict code of “honour” that gives women little or no say in matters such as who they can marry and whether they can get an education.

Fawzia Koofi, a former politician from Badakhshan, blamed the police for mishandling the case.

Many in Afghanistan, including some in the police and judiciary, believe killing is a suitable punishment for women who elope, Ms Koofi said.

“Women in Afghanistan are still the most vulnerable part of society, not only under the Taliban-controlled areas,” she said.

During their rule in the late 1990s, the Taliban banned women from working and going to school, and ordered them to be fully covered when leaving their homes.

Activists say violence against women remains common across Afghanistan.

Last year, the country’s Human Rights Commission recorded more than 2,700 cases of violence against women in Afghanistan, a 9 per cent increase from 2018.

Updated: May 5, 2020 11:43 PM

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