A mother and father in Afghanistan sliced off the ears and nose of a local cleric in revenge for his alleged sexual abuse of their teenage daughter.
Abdul and Sultana Qahar, from northern Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, lured the mullah to their house with a dinner invitation, tied him up, then set about carving up his face.
‘I cut off his ears and nose,’ Qahar told Reuters from the regional police chief’s office, where he is under arrest. ‘I don’t know if a cat ate his ears, but his nose went down the drain.’
The provincial head of women’s affairs, Khadija Yaqeen, said the 14-year-old girl had told her parents about the assaults four months ago.
Qahar invited the mullah over to the family home for dinner on Monday, police said. Both parents were arrested the next day.
Baghlan police spokesman Ahmad Jawid Basharat said the vengeful father had tied the cleric’s hands and feet before carrying out the vicious mutilation as an act of revenge.
Islamic sharia law often holds sway over constitutional law in rural parts of Afghanistan.
‘If there was a functioning rule of law, then he would be punished even more severely,’ said the girl’s mother, who was wearing a traditional all-covering burqa.
Right activists say there has been a sharp rise in violent attacks against women in the deeply conservative Muslim country, where women have fought hard to gain rights after the collapse of Taliban government in 2001.
After it emerged that the country was not a stronghold for Al Qaida, as had been claimed, restoring women’s rights was cited as one of the main objectives of the war waged by a U.S.-led coalition of Western troops.
There is growing fear among many Afghans that the withdrawal of Western troops and efforts to reach a political agreement with the Taliban to end the 12-year-old war could undermine hard-won freedoms for women.
The hardline Islamist government banned girls from attending school when it ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, and during the insurgency its militants have regularly bombed girls’ schools built with U.S. money.
The 32-year-old cleric denies assaulting the girl. Police said they have opened a case against him.