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Despite changes, Afghan women in danger

Oct. 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Women in Afghanistan still face violence and danger despite changes by the Afghan government, the head of an international human rights group says.

In an incident this week, a woman was beheaded by relatives because she refused to prostitute herself, CNN reported Friday.

Women and girls in the region "are raped, killed, forced into marriage in childhood, prevented from obtaining an education and denied their sexual and reproductive rights," Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said Thursday in a statement.

"Until basic human rights are guaranteed ... these horrible abuses will continue to be committed," she said.

Nossel detailed how Mah Gul, a 20-year-old married Afghan woman, was beheaded Sunday by her mother-in-law and another relative because she refused to prostitute herself.

The two assailants have admitted to killing Gul.

The U.S. government says some Afghan women and girls have been forced into prostitution and marriage.

Some families knowingly sell their children -- boys and girls -- into forced prostitution.

There has been some progress in improving conditions for women in Afghanistan. In 2004, the Afghan constitution guaranteed young girls a right to an education. A woman has run for president.

During five years of Taliban rule that ended in 2001, women couldn't attend class or get a job. Outside the home, women had to wear a body-covering burqa and be accompanied by a male relative. Violations of such laws could result in beatings.

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