Human Rights

Child Brides Still Common in Afghanistan

Footage of two Afghan girls being flogged for trying to escape their husbands is making the rounds in humanitarian circles, yet again bringing the plight of child brides into focus. The girls, aged 13 and 14, were captured by police at a checkpoint where they had tried to pass for boys. And, instead of being helped, they were sent home to be punished. According to Unicef, the brides in 43 percent of Afghan marriages were under 18 from 2000 to 2008. And even though the Afghan constitution stipulates that a girl must be 16 to marry, the law is seldom enforced when tribal rituals take over. Flogging is also illegal in name. “I thought in the 21st century such a criminal incident could not happen in our country,” said Mohammed Munir Khashi, an investigator with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. “It’s inhuman, anti-Islam and illegal.”