Nine-Year-Old Child  Bride Reportedly Killed  by Husband in Afghanistan

An Afghan man has been accused of strangling to death a nine-year-old girl who was forcibly given to him by her family as a child bride to pay off a debt.

News of the murder emerged a day after figures were published in a joint report between the UN children’s agency, Unicef, and the Afghan ministry of labour, social affairs, martyrs and the disabled, suggesting that more than one in three Afghan girls were still being married off before the age of 18.

The girl’s murder was confirmed to local media by the provincial governor, Naqibullah Amini, as well as to the Guardian by an NGO based in Kabul.

According to the Afghan website and television channel Tolo News, the girl, named Samia, was “married” to the alleged killer, named as Sharafuddin, at the age of seven to settle a debt – known as a baad.

The governor said that the child “had been married [to the 35-year-old] for two years”, continuing that the alleged killer “had fled the area after the incident”.

Amini added that the dead girl’s father had been arrested by police “for forcing his daughter to marry the man”.

Further details of the murder were also confirmed by Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan, which runs a shelter in Kabul, in a statement to the Guardian. “The [girl’s] father claims that she was given in baad to settle a dispute between them, but the reality is that the girl was only seven years old when she was sold for around $13,500 [£10,000] in marriage. The case is still under investigation, but she is not alone – the thing to understand is that hundreds of girls become victims of such violence every day in Afghanistan. Although child marriages and baad are prohibited by the law it is not implemented in most parts of the country.”

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