By Ajmal Wisalon
Incidents of violence against women increased in central Uruzgan province this year, when 60 cases were registered in the provincial capital alone, the Department of Women's Affairs said on Sunday.
Most of the incidents took place in far-flung areas, where some cases went unreported due to insecurity and other problems, Women's Affairs Director Rana Sami Wafa told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Of the 60 cases in Tirinkot, 30 pertained to domestic violence, such as early marriage, violence by in-laws and depriving women of dowry and inheritance, she said.
She told the tale of a married girl, Gul Chari, who was shot injured by her husband in Tirinkot. The girl has been unable to walk. "Women approach us for help, but we are unable to resolve their problems in remote areas, where the law and order situation is not good."
More than 20 women drug addicts had been registered and sent to Kabul for rehabilitation, because there was no such facility in the provincial capital.
"A number of women committed suicide after being forced into marriage against their will," she said, adding pregnancy-related deaths had increased due to a shortage of trained gynecologists.
According to Babo, a resident of the city, women faced a whole host of complex problems, including forced marriage and giving them away to settle disputes. The practices are fuelling suicide and drug addiction among women.
Governor Mohammad Omar Sherzad linked the increasing incidents of violence to illiteracy, saying efforts were being made to discourage the trend. He added it would take some time to see a positive change.
Abdul Ghafar Stanikzai, the Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) director for Uruzgan, confirmed rising violence against women. He said they had registered 57 such cases. "We have started a number of public awareness programmes involving religious scholars."
Maulvi Abdul Rehman, a local religious scholar, said: "Islam forbids giving away a female to resolve a dispute. It is compulsory for all men and women to seek Islamic knowledge, but people do not allow women in this regard."
Cutting the throat of a 15-year-old girl in Farah, a sexual assault by a father on his daughter and the predicament Sara Gul in Baghlan were the worst examples of violence against women, said Shinkai Karokhel, an MP from Kabul and a women's rights activist.
"Promises have been made regarding solution to women's problems and their rights across the country, but nothing is done," she complained. The lawmaker suggested if women had been given greater representation in government departments, they would have been able to resolve their problems.