Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada, police chief in Afghanistan's Herat province, told Agence France-Presse yesterday that the victim Mah Gul refused to sleep with a man whom her mother-in-law had brought to their house last week.
Sayedzada said that ever since the victim got married four months ago, her mother-in-law often tried to compel Gul to share a bed with strangers. He added that Gul's husband and his parents have been taken into custody along with the murder suspect Najibullah.
Police presented the latter before newspersons yesterday. At the press conference, Najibullah confessed to beheading Gul. According to him, the victim's mother-in-law alleged that Gul was a woman of loose character and demanded that she be put to death immediately.
"It was around 2 am when Gul's husband left for his bakery. I came down and with the help of her mother-in-law killed her with a knife," Najibullah said.
Of late, the international media has been focusing on Pakistan following the failed attempt by the Taliban to murder Malala Yousafzai. As the 14-year-old courageously led a campaign against the move to deny education to girls in Pakistan, the Taliban sent two killers to shoot her dead.
Much to their dismay, Malala survived despite bullets piercing her head and neck. The news of Gul's beheading suggests that the plight of women in her country is no better than their Pakistani counterparts.
Even the human rights commission in western Afghanistan admits that the situation is grim. The commission's regional director Abdul Qader Rahimi said: "There is no doubt violence against women has increased. So far this year we have registered 100 cases of violence against women in the western region."
Ruing that several cases are not reported due to fear of reprisals, Rahimi expressed satisfaction that "... at least in Gul's case, we are glad the murderer has been arrested and brought to justice."
Incidentally, Afghan police received acclaim in 2011 for rescuing a teenager named Sahar Gul. The girl's in-laws had thrashed her more than once and confined her in a toilet for five long months just because Sahar Gul refused to become a prostitute as per their wish.