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These women killed their husbands to set themselves free

Fatima, 39, was married off to her cousin and bore him five children, the first when she was 13.

She says he was a violent man, prone to punching her in the head; once, he even shot her.

“Even your bones cannot leave this house,” he would say when she begged him to stop.

On several occasions, she tried to kill herself in halfhearted ways, eating food that had gone bad or exposing herself to cold weather. In the end, she choked her husband to death in his sleep.

The court sentenced her to 20 years in prison. She has already served eight.

This is only one of many cases where women in Afghanistan killed to set themselves free from marital violence.


One would wonder why these women are in prison in a country like Afghanistan.

First of all, these crimes were not committed by Taliban women. They were done by women living outside Taliban’s control.

In 2009, the Afghan government passed a law. It is the Elimination of Violence Against Women law.

It is the first to establish protections for Afghan women against child marriage, forced marriage and 20 other acts of violence.

Violence against women in Afghanistan is part of the male assertion of power.

New York Times says the United Nations found in 2018 that just 18 percent of documented murders of women in Afghanistan led to legal action against the perpetrator.

They even have a local saying:

“A woman enters her husband’s house wearing white and leaves his house wearing white,”

Some of these women are in a special prison, similar to the one in Herat.

It has 15-foot walls, corrugated gates and barb wire surrounds it.

One hundred nineteen inmates and their 32 children live inside the Herat Women’s prison.

As many as 20 women have been charged with and in some cases found guilty of murdering their husbands. 


Most of the cases are linked to forced marriages and ends in the murder of the men. The women say the husbands were bullies.

Some men shot their wives who got lucky are still alive. But with time, these women killed the men.


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