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Girls & Women

9-Year-Old Child Bride Killed by Husband in Afghanistan


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Poverty and lack of education are among the main drivers of child marriage, a harmful practice that disproportionately impacts girls in Afghanistan. You can take action here to help end child marriage everywhere and achieve gender equality.

Editor’s note: This story contains details of violence some may find disturbing.

An Afghan man has been accused of murdering his 9-year-old wife and fleeing the scene of the incident, according to multiple reports.  

The girl, who was forced into child marriage at the age of 7 by her family to pay off a debt, was pronounced dead on the same day that a joint report from the UN, UNICEF, and the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs, and Disabled (MoLSAMD), was released stating 1 in 3 Afghan girls were still being wed before the age of 18, reported the Guardian.

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“We can confirm that this has happened,” said Hashim Ahmadi, the program manager at Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan, in an interview with the Guardian. “The [girl’s] father claims that she was given in baad [payment as a traditional form of justice] to settle a dispute between them, but the reality is that the girl was only seven years old when she was sold for around $13,500 [£10,000] in marriage.”

Ahmadi warned that while the case is still under investigation, hundreds of girls become victims of similar violence every day in Afghanistan. Despite child marriages and baad being prohibited by law, that law is not enforced in most parts of the country, he said.

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The incident took place in Kadanak village of Qads district of the Bhadgis province a spokesman for the provincial governor Naqibullah Amini confirmed to TOLO News.

The suspect, named Sharafuddin, allegedly beat and strangled his 9-year-old wife, Samia, to death during a dispute over “family issues,” according to officials. While the suspect had fled, Samia’s father had since been arrested for “for forcing his daughter to marry the man” two years earlier, Amini told TOLO News.

The UN study revealed that in 42% of households in Afghanistan, at least one member of the family was married before the age of 18. Child marriage has declined across the country by 10% over the past decade, but there’s still much work to be done.

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“We are going to change this culture of child marriage so that no child in the country becomes the victim of this phenomenon,” said Faizullah Zaki, minister of labor, social affairs, martyrs, and disabled. “Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and it robs children of their education, health, and childhood.”

In this instance, it robbed a 9-year-old girl of her life.