Afghanistan: Domestic violence ‘increases’ in Nimroz

Ghor provincial hospital, Ghor province, Afghanistan.

Domestic violence – including child marriages, forced marriages, and the sale of girls – has increased by 50 percent in Nimroz province of Afghanistan following the collapse of the former government in August 2021, sources familiar with the matter told Amu TV.

The growing number of child marriages is a real concern and for 13-year-old Gulalai and 12-year-old Torpekai, their fates are already sealed. 

The sisters, from Chakhansur district, in Nimroz, were sold off by their desperate mother, Fatima, whose husband, a soldier, was killed in a skirmish with the Taliban. She was left with five young children, four girls and one boy. 

Fatima said she was forced to sell her daughters due to severe financial difficulties as she needed to feed her other children.

Although Fatima regrets what she did, she said she had no choice but to sell her daughters so that neither Torpekai nor Gulalai or her other children would starve to death. 

Clearly emotional about the sitution, Fatima said with tears in her eyes that “the Taliban killed my children’s breadwinner and we were left hungry and vulnerable. I was forced to sell my two daughters who had no idea about married life, in order to save them, otherwise, we all could have died of starvation.”

She added that she sold her daughters for 400,000 Afghanis ($4,470) to provide for her family’s living costs. 

“My little daughters visit [me] once a week and cry; they can’t handle loads of work at their husbands houses, they don’t even understand the methods of sexual interaction, but they go back to their husbands homes in tears,” Fatima said.

Asifa meanwhile is a victim of domestic violence. Her drug-addict father sold her for 100,000 Afghani ($1,138) to her cousin.

Asifa stated that her husband is disabled – both deaf and dumb – and not only cannot take care of himself or earn a living by he abuses her physically.

She said she has no one to turn to as there are no organizations to help. According to her, she has twice tried to commit suicide. 

Asifa said her life is “hell”. I work from morning till evening every day. My husband Rahim is at home most of the time and has no permanent work as he is disabled. No one will employ him. When he gets bored he starts beating me. I am fed up with my life.” 

Meanwhile, another 16-year-old girl committed suicide a month ago after she was forced to marry a Nimroz man. Her mother, Ziban Naroee, said that her daughter wanted to get an education and became very depressed when the Taliban banned girls from school. 

“Her brother stopped her from going to an English educational center as well. He wanted to force her to get married. My daughter was not happy and used to cry all day and night. Her brother did not pay attention to her demands and arranged for her to become engaged to a Taliban member who was his friend,” Naroee said.

Naroee said her daughter was too young to marry and “her brother beat her and told her that her fiancé is a Taliban member, he doesn’t want her to learn English. Then he locked her inside a room. It was around 8 pm when I went to call her; She hanged herself from a ceiling fan. This heavy pain burns my body every day, but I can’t do anything.”

Hamida, a women’s rights activist, told Amu TV that domestic violence has increased dramatically since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

Hamida stated that with women being purposefully excluded from society, these prohibitions and restrictions are the basis of much of the domestic violence.

According to this women’s rights activist, forced and child marriages are rooted in poverty, ignorance, culture, and false beliefs of society. During the republic government women and the government used to fight against such norms. Now however they are taking place more and more often. 

She said the Taliban’s approach to religion is different and that it is rooted in “superstitions” and added that the Taliban believe that a girl should get married as soon as she reaches “puberty” and for this reason, single Taliban fighters now want to get married to under age girls, and many of them want to marry the daughters of former Afghan military personnel. 

Hamida noted that International Women’s day (March 8) is celebrated around the world, while millions of women and girls are deprived of their basic rights. According to her, the international community has done nothing practically to support Afghan women.

She added that hundreds of women are in Taliban jails for demanding their basic rights and are being tortured by the group. In addition, hundreds of women and children are in Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey prisons for illegal migration, the UN however, has remained silent, she said.According to her, domestic violence, particularly forced and underage marriages, has increased by 80 percent after the Taliban takeover. She said that many female children are being forced to get married across the country every day, “but there is no organization to deal with this domestic violence.”