The ordeal of Gulnaz

Long before 9/11, human rights groups tried to get Americans to pay attention to the human rights abuses suffered by women in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban. Then the war started, the Taliban was ousted from power, over 1,800 U.S. soldiers died, and it’s still a struggle to get any attention paid to the human rights abuses suffered by women in Afghanistan.

But, today, one story is getting some attention.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned a woman who was jailed for adultery after she was raped by a family member.

All she has to do is marry the rapist.

The BBC reports…


Gulnaz’s lawyer told the BBC she hoped the government would allow Gulnaz the freedom to choose who to marry.

“In my conversations with Gulnaz she told me that if she had the free choice she would not marry the man who raped her,” said Kimberley Motley.

The case has drawn international attention to the plight of many Afghan women 10 years after the overthrow of the Taliban.

Earlier this month, Gulnaz told the BBC that after she was raped she was charged with adultery.

“At first my sentence was two years,” she said. “When I appealed it became 12 years. I didn’t do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long?”

  • Alison

    I clicked on the NewsCut link from the MPR News page after reading the title ‘When death feels like a good option’. I read this entire post before figuring out that the title went with the previuos post. That title fits here as well.

  • This is NOT lucy

    I hear you, Alison.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Afghanistan is a place of ignorant iron age brutes with modern weaponry and a lock on the heroin market. Damn politico-cultural sensitivity.

    If we are to remain there in any capacity, the primary mission should be to protect the women and children from the backward tribal, patriarchal, blood vengeance culture.

    This means not only defeating the taliban, but drastically reducing corruption and enforcing international human rights accords.

    Anything short of that is akin to pouring our money and the blood of the members of our armed forces into a cesspool.

  • Jamie

    OMG. It seems like I shouldn’t be shocked any more after hearing a million stories like this, but here I sit with my chin on my desk again. One thing that makes this extra disgusting is that Hamid Karzai is supposed to sort of a more progressive person, isn’t he? I guess everything’s relative.

    Well said, Jim.

  • Bob Collins

    I think Karzai is doing everything he can not to be the puppet dangling from a Khabul light pole when an occupying force leaves, like the last guy.