A Pregnant 14-year-old girl, Zahra, who was set alight by her husband’s family, has died in Isteqlal Hospital, Kabul.
The incident in Ghor followed after Zahra’s father got a new wife two years ago. At the time, he gave his daughter to a member of his new spouse’s family in order to settle the matter.
In Afghanistan, this practice is called bad dadan, where girls and women are given to settle a dispute between families, often a blood dispute. Zahra is an example of this practice.
Ghor police said that Zahra’s husband has disappeared and they are investigating the incident.
“Our investigative team has been sent to the area and has started a probe into the incident. Zahra’s father-in-law has been brought before the court,” said Zaman Azimi, acting police chief of Ghor.
Doctors at Isteqlal Hospital said her burn wounds were bone-deep. “A team of doctors worked on this patient, but unfortunately they failed to save her,” said Mohammed Sabir, head of the hospital.
Zahra’s father claimed that his daughter was a victim of domestic violence from the day she married his brother-in-law.
“They (the victim’s new family) have power. The court works in their favor. The police headquarters and the provincial council office also are in their favor. Whatever they say, will be done by the judicial organs,” said Mohammad Azam, the victim’s father.
Zahra’s step-mother, Taza Gul, claimed that she also suffered from domestic violence and to escape abuse, she left the house with her husband.
“No one paid attention to Zahra, even when she was stabbed, beaten and harassed. We lost her,” she said.
“She was pregnant. She aborted while she was being burnt. Here, we have witnessed two murders and two crimes,” said civil society activist Baqi Samandar.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) condemned the act and called on government to investigate the incident thoroughly.
“We urge the government to bring the perpetrators of this act to court and ensure justice for the victim,” said the AIHRC chairperson Sima Samar.