Thursday, June 17, 2010

This is Afghanistan, NOT America

Rukhma, who does not know her age but looks younger than 20; was trafficked across the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan with her three-year-old son. In Pakistan, Rukhma was married to an abusive man who fathered her son, Bilal. Rukhma divorced her husband and married another Pakistani man by whom she became pregnant last year. Then she was kidnapped by a neighbor and taken to Afghanistan where she was raped by an Afghan man for three months. One day she overheard the Afghan finalizing a deal to sell Rukhma to another man who wanted her but not her son. Scared of losing her son, Rukhma ran away one day from the house. Unfortunately, Rukhma was soon discovered by the Afghan, who not only mercilessly beat her but also murdered her son in front of her eyes. When the Afghan police arrived, they arrested the Afghan murderer and rapist as well as Rukhma. Although her tormentor received a 20-years jail term, Rukhma was also imprisoned on charges of adultery for four years.
Blaming the victim common 
Yet except for a small urban elite, a woman fleeing domestic violence or accusing a man of rape herself often ends up the guilty party in the eyes of judges and prosecutors."Why am I here? I'm innocent," Rukhma said, crying in a musty jail cell and cradling a baby daughter by her previous marriage whom she bore in prison. "It is cruel to have your son killed before your eyes and then to be imprisoned."
In parts of Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, where stern social codes prevail, a woman who runs away from home is typically suspected of having taken a lover and can be prosecuted for adultery. Simply leaving her house without her family's permission may be deemed an offense — as in Rukhma's case — although it is not classified as such under Afghanistan's penal code.
The chief prosecutor of eastern Nangarhar province who oversaw Rukhma's case suggested she got off lightly.
"If my wife goes to the bazaar without my permission, I will kill her. This is our culture," Abdul Qayum shouted scornfully during an interview in his office in the city of Jalalabad.
His colleagues laughed approvingly. "This is Afghanistan, not America," Qayum said.
Rukhma’s case is not a stray incidence but the social condition of the women in Afghanistan, which has not changed even after the US led NATO invaded the country overthrowing the Taliban regime. Under the new Afghan constitution, women have the right to education, can get a job and are to be always protected by the law, but in reality, women especially in rural Afghanistan are as vulnerable as before. Violence against women has in fact risen in the last one year. According to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, there were 2,374 reported cases of violence against women in 2007 while the figure in 2006 was 1,651. In 70 to 80 percent of these cases often the woman is charged of criminal activities for running away from the home and committing adultery. In incidences of rape, where it is very difficult to prove the allegations, the victim is accused of adultery and thrown into the jail.

Reference: msnbc


  1. Hi Tahira, thank you for your comments. I had turned my back to blogging but now I am going to give it a short again. Please drop me an email on and let me have your email address. I would love to exchange my views about the current affairs, Afghanistan, etc.


  2. I would like to ask you some questions, could you write to my email or via my website