By: Alexandra Kinias
The astounding news of the beheading of 14 years old Gastina came as a wake-up call to those who believed that the women’s situation in Afghanistan was improving. Despite the progress that has been made over the past decade in terms of girls’ and women’s schooling and increased protections and family rights for women, Afghanistan is still ranked as the world’s most hostile country for women.
According to amnesty international, the aggression and atrocities against women are on the rise, not that it had ever declined. And while women are still struggling for their basic needs and rights for education and healthcare, gruesome stories of the Taliban’s brutality against women are still dominating the headlines. News are continuously reporting stories of rape, stoning, killing, acid throwing on school girls and teachers, setting schools on fire, teenage girls who have had their noses and ears cut off or been attacked with axes for tarnishing a family’s honor, asking for a divorce or running away from a forced marriage. Suicides and suicide attempts, including jumping off buildings, self-immolations, and drinking rat poison, are also increasing among women who are being forced to marry against their will.
Gastina’s beheading was the latest violent crime to be reported, yet it was not an isolated incident, according to news reports. Avenging the refusal of his marriage proposal, Sadeq Massoud and his brother waited for the seventh grader as she fetched fresh water from a well close her house in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz. The two men jumped on the girl with a hunting knife, overpowered her and slit her throat to the bone. The 14 years old lost her life in such a brutal way for refusing to marry Massoud.
In a phone interview with the daily beast, Kunduz police spoksman Sayed Sarwar told the Daily Beast that the girl was not even given a chance to cry out for help.
This was the 15th deadly attack on a female victim in Kunduz in 2012, the human rights organization said.”Amnesty International is very concerned about the violations against women in Afghanistan,” said Cristina Finch, director of the organization’s Women’s Human Rights program.
In the ultra-conservative society where men are fueled by a misogynous culture and supported by religious doctrine, violence against women is the norm. Women rights activists are concerned that the increasing numbers of crimes against women are a prediction for a gloomy future that is yet to come.
Both men involved in the beheading of Gastina are in custody, but the charges against them are not clear yet. Local women organizations demand the death penalty for the crimes committed against women, but unfortunately in a country where women are stripped from their basic rights and treated as commodities and baby breeders, most of the perpetrators go unpunished.
In an interview with the daily beast, Nadiya Guyah, director of women’s affairs in the province of Kunduz expressed her worries about the future of the Afghani women and her dismay to the detachment of the world to the realities that are taking place in Afghanistan. “The international community’s claim that life is improving for women in Afghanistan is just a dream. Afghan men are keeping Afghan women in a centuries-old time warp. Unfortunately Gastina’s death is the grim reality.” Guyah said.