A warlord's revenge for his spurned proposal

Gunmen use acid to inflict horrifying injuries on teenage Afghan girl and two sisters

Kabul

Three men doused a teenage girl in acid at her home in northern Afghanistan this week to prevent her marrying. The vicious attack is believed to have been ordered by an ageing warlord who wanted to marry the girl himself but who was rejected by her family.

"The girl was supposed to have been married on Friday," the provincial head of women's affairs, Nadira Geya, said. "That's why they carried out the attack. They wanted to prevent the wedding. They threw acid into the girl's face so that no one else would marry her."

Early on Tuesday morning, the three gunmen broke into the family home in the Bolakawal area of Kunduz city. One man beat up the girl's parents with a club; 17-year-old Mumtaz and her two sisters, aged 14 and eight, 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 and then set to work on the girls, spraying all three girls liberally with corrosive chemical. The five family members remain in hospital and Mumtaz is in critical condition, Ms Geya said. "The 17-year-old was badly hurt," she said. "They threw acid on her face, on her hands, her body and her feet. Her body is 40 per cent burns. She is in a bad condition in hospital."

She added that the 14-year-old's face is completely burnt and the youngest child's face is half-burnt. The family also has a son, but he was not at the house during the attack and is unharmed.

The Afghan authorities are treating the attack with the utmost "seriousness" and have already arrested one suspect, the Ministry of Interior said.

The man behind the attack is thought to be a local warlord who asked to marry the girl. Mumtaz's mother declined his proposal saying he was an old man of bad character. His involvement in the attack is being investigated. The Ministry of Interior would not say if it was he who had been arrested. "We have arrested one person so far and we have identified two other suspects," Minister spokesman Sediq Sediqi said.

He added that when all three suspects have been arrested they will be brought to Kabul to face justice. "If convicted, they will face the highest possible sentence," Mr Sediqi said, saying they could spend more than 26 years in prison for the crime.

The assault demonstrates the perils women and girls in Afghanistan face on a regular basis. Acid is frequently thrown at girls in vengeful and disfiguring attacks. The most notorious acid attack was three years ago in Kandahar when two men on a motorbike used water pistols to squirt acid the in the faces of 15 girls as they walked to school.

The details of the latest case emerged as the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai pardoned a rape victim, named only as Gulnaz, on condition that she marry her attacker. In a move that will cause outcry among human rights groups, the Afghan leader said that the victim, who was jailed as an adulterer, would be pardoned when the marriage was confirmed. Gulnaz was jailed with her baby daughter after she became pregnant after the assault.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission logged 1,026 cases of violence against women in the second quarter of 2011 compared with 2,700 cases for the whole of 2010.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - SQL Server, T-SQL

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Data Analyst (SQL Server, T-SQL, data)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst...

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road