Skip to main content

Afghan police: Man kills wife for giving birth to daughter instead of son

By Nematullah Sarfraz, for CNN
updated 11:02 PM EST, Tue January 31, 2012
Wali Hazrata, left, is detained at the city jail in Kunduz, Afghanistan. She is accused of helping her son, Sher Mohammed, 29, kill his wife for not bearing him any sons.
Wali Hazrata, left, is detained at the city jail in Kunduz, Afghanistan. She is accused of helping her son, Sher Mohammed, 29, kill his wife for not bearing him any sons.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Women's rights are deteriorating in Afghanistan, a rights activist says
  • The mother of accused husband says her daughter-in-law committed suicide
  • Sher Mohammed and his 22-year-old wife had three daughters
  • The mother, who allegedly beat her daughter-in-law, was arrested, but her son fled, police say

Kunduz, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Police in the northern Afghanistan province of Kunduz are looking for a man they say strangled his wife after she bore him a third child that was not a son.

Sher Mohammed, 29, married his 22-year-old wife, Storay, four years ago, police said.

The couple had three daughters, the last of whom was born three months ago, said Khanabad district police chief Sufi Habib.

After the youngest daughter was born, Mohammed blamed his wife for not being able to deliver a boy, Habib said.

"Finally on Saturday, the man, with the help of his mother, first beat the woman and then strangled her to death," the police chief said.

Khanabad is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Kunduz city.

Police arrested the mother, Wali Hazrata, and detained her at the Kunduz city jail. But her son fled.

Police: Man killed wife for having girl

In a jailhouse interview, Hazrata said her son's wife committed suicide out of guilt.

"My son did not commit the crime," Hazrata said. "... But after three daughters, Storay herself felt guilty and committed suicide."

The report comes weeks after Afghan police said they rescued a 15-year-old girl who was locked up in the basement of her in-laws' house, starved, and had her nails pulled out.

The girl, Sahar Gul, was married off to a 30-year-old man last year. Authorities in northern Baghlan province said the girl reportedly was tortured after she refused to submit to prostitution.

Activists say women continue to suffer in parts of Afghanistan despite overall progress since the fall of the Taliban.

In the second quarter of last year, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) registered 1,026 cases of violence against women. In 2010, it recorded 2,700 cases.

In December, gunmen attacked and sprayed an Afghan family with acid in their home after the father rejected a man's bid to marry his teenage daughter.

In another case, a 21-year-old, identified only as Gulnaz for her own protection, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after she reported that her cousin's husband had raped her.

Her plight attracted international attention when it came out that she had agreed to marry her attacker to gain her freedom and legitimize a daughter conceived in the attack. She was eventually freed, following President Hamid Karzai's intervention.

Horia Mosadiq, a London-based Afghan researcher for the rights group Amnesty International, said the abuse inflicted on Storay Mohammed is not an isolated instance.

"Generally the human rights situation, and particularly women's rights, is deteriorating," she told CNN. "I am in constant contact with women's rights groups across the country, and they say they are seeing an increase in violence."

This is in part because the Afghan government does little to implement or enforce the laws that protect women's rights, she said.

She also sees it as a consequence of women across the country gaining greater awareness of their rights, which is leading both to a backlash from men and to more cases of violence being reported.

On top of that, the Afghan government's move toward peace and reconciliation talks with the Taliban has led many people to think the current oppression of women will simply continue as it is, Mosadiq said.

"We need to make sure that we protect the women -- it's so important that women's rights in Afghanistan are non-negotiable," she said.

The alleged involvement of Storay Mohammed's mother-in-law in her abuse is not unusual, Mosadiq added, as women often play a role in violence against other women within the family, as do husbands, fathers and brothers.

And there is a heavy cultural pressure to bear sons, who are viewed as the breadwinners, she said, with the birth of a daughter seen as a burden rather than something to celebrate.

If the situation of Afghan women is to improve, Mosadiq said, a strong political will is needed at the government level, backed up by strong pressure from the international community.

"Where (the international community) puts so much pressure and focus on a military solution, they should also think about the protection of the Afghan people and Afghan women," she said.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT