Surge of violence against women; four women murdered in Sar-e-Pul

Zaeifa, 40, was found dead along with her 23-year-old daughter, Mehrjan, around 04:30 am on Monday, February 10, in Rekab Dasht neighborhood of Sar-e-Pul city, capital city of the northern Sar-e-Pul province.

Three hours later, police forces arrive in the site of incident and take the dead bodies to the provincial hospital. No one has been arrested in connection to this mysterious killing.

According to Nabila Habibi, head of women affairs department in Sar-e-Pul province, the police have not found any clue to identify the perpetrators.

Reports show a rise in surge of violence against women as over the last five days three other women were mysteriously killed in Sar-e-Pul city and Sozma Qala district of the province, according to department of women affairs and provincial hospital of Sar-e-Pul province.

Residents of Korak Arabia village—a village controlled by the Taliban in the suburbs of Sar-e-Pul city—took the dead body of a 23 years old women, Shafiqa, to hospital on Thursday, February 06. As stated by the hospital officials, the perpetrators had left her beheaded body inside a sack in a creek.

Although the exact time and place of the murder are not clear, officials of the hospital have found some signs of physical beatings on Shafiqa’s dead body. The police have arrested her husband but there is no evidence suggesting his involvement in the murder.

Zarmina, another victim, was killed on Friday’s morning in her own residence, February 07, in Do Aba village of Sozma Qala district, according to women affairs department head, Nabila Habibi. Ms. Habibi added that there are signs of physical abuse on the body of Zarmina, showing she was beaten up by armed men. Zarmina, who was resident of Sar-e-Pul city, married a man from Sozma Qala nearly six months ago.

Meanwhile, Atila Noori, head of Sar-e-Pul civil society network, cited close relatives of Zarmina saying that she was shot dead after being physically beaten in her home. No one has been arrested over her murder yet.

In another case, a 17 years old girl named Farzana, was killed in Panjshiri neighborhood of Sar-e-Pul city in crossfires between government forces and the Taliban militants, according to local authorities. Zabihullah Amani, spokesperson of Sari-e-Pul governor, said that she was killed by the Taliban militants.

Officials at the department of public health in the province, however, have a different account of the incident. “The dead body of the girl who was taken to hospital from Panshiri neighborhood was beaten and shot with bullets. There were several signs of beatings on her body indicating that she was beaten before being shot,” said a local health source.

Another teenage girl, 17, was reportedly abducted in Balkhab district of the province on Saturday, February 15. The governor spokesperson said that no clue has been found regarding her whereabouts but two people were arrested regarding the abduction.

Raise in violence against women

Over 160 complaints have been registered by women in Sar-e-Pul’ department of women affairs since the beginning of this year (solar year). According to Ms. Habibi, of 84 cases of violence, 14 are related to murder. She added that they have registered 62 cases in which the women have attempted to commit suicide in the province.

The local official further noted that the actual cases of violence against women is higher than the registered number due to different factors preventing recording such cases in the province.

Poverty, domestic problems, forced marriages, addition, imposing restrictions on women, and pursuing violence against women are said to be the main factors behind rise in violence against women in Sar-e-Pul.