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
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain