A Badghis man allegedly beat and strangled his nine-year-old wife to death on Sunday night, provincial officials confirmed on Monday.
The incident took place in Kadanak village of Qads district of the province due to “family issues,” a spokesman for the provincial governor Naqibullah Amini confirmed.
He said the child "named Samia had been married to (the suspect) Sharafuddin for two years.”
“The man fled the area after the incident,” Amini said.
The girl’s father has meanwhile been arrested by police “for forcing his daughter to marry the man,” Amini added.
Amini said the husband is about 35 years old and has another wife. He said the child had been given to Sharafuddin as "Bad" (as payment to settle a dispute).
However, he did not provide further details about the incident.
This comes just a day after the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled (MoLSAMD) in cooperation with UNICEF launched a comprehensive study on child marriage in Afghanistan.
According to the minister of labor, social affairs, martyrs and disabled, Faizullah Zaki, the study, built on previous studies, looked at child marriage in Afghanistan from various angles.
In his foreword, Zaki said “the practice of child marriage is widely opposed, but our understanding is ‘narrow’, and our actions inadequate.
“Building on the findings of this study, we need to embark on a national action plan to combat comprehensively the child marriage practice.”
“We are going to change this culture of child marriage so that no child in the country becomes the victim of this phenomenon. I reiterate our commitment to the protection and well-being of our children. It is our children on whom our future rests,” Zaki said.
“Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and it robs children of their education, health and childhood,” says Zaki. “Since all parents want the very best for their daughters and sons, we must work together to put an end to child marriage.”
The study findings, finalized under the leadership of MoLSAMD, shows that the security situation, poverty, deeply embedded beliefs and social norms put girls at a disadvantage.
According to the report, whilst there has been a reduction in child marriage in Afghanistan, it remains high. “In fact, child marriage has dropped by 10 per cent over a span of five years.”
“Child marriage is slightly declining in Afghanistan, and we commend the relentless efforts of the government to reduce this practice and their strong commitment to child rights,” says Adele Khodr, Representative, UNICEF Afghanistan.
“Yet, further consolidated action is needed by the different actors in society to put an end to this practice and reach the goal of ending child marriage by 2030,” she said.
The study showed that in 42 percent of households at least one member of their family got married before the age of 18. Yet, significant regional disparities exist, varying from 21 percent of households in Ghor to 66 percent in Paktia having at least one member who got married before the age of 18.
The report stated that child marriage in Afghanistan persists at rates that suggest at least one in three young girls will be married before they turn 18. However, it is not a well-researched phenomenon in this context, and gaps in knowledge regarding prevalence, practice and drivers remain.