The parents of a teenage girl have been arrested after they attacked a religious cleric and cut off his nose and ears in retaliation for what they say were a series of sexual attacks on their daughter.
Four months ago in rural northern Afghanistan, a 14-year-old girl told her parents she had been sexually assaulted. The 32-year-old cleric who harmed her, she said, was her cousin.
The girl's father invited the mullah to his house for dinner, police said, then he tied him up by his hands and feet.
Then, as an act of revenge, the parents cut off the cleric's nose and ears. "I don't know if a cat ate his ears, but his nose went down the drain," the girl's father Abdul Qahar said from the police chief's office in the northern Baghlan province, Reuters news agency reported.
The 32-year-old cleric denied he had assaulted the girl, Reuters have reported. While Australia’s SBS states that the “cleric admitted he had abused the girl three months ago using anesthesia.” Police said they have opened a case against him.
Religious, or sharia, law often holds sway over constitutional law in some parts of rural Afghanistan.
"If there was a functioning rule of law, then he would be punished even more severely," said the girl's mother.
Right activists say there has been a sharp rise in violent attacks against women in the deeply conservative Muslim country, where women have fought hard to gain rights after the collapse of Taliban government in 2001.
There is growing fear among many people in Afghanistan that the withdrawal of NATO-led forces and efforts to reach a political agreement with the Taliban to end the 12-year-old war could undermine hard-won freedoms for women.