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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taliban Cruelty to Women

Remember brave Bibi Aisha, the beautiful girl on the cover of Time Magazine without a nose? Here she is today, sitting on the New York subway with a friend and thanks to the generosity of American people and the wonders of modern surgery, she now has a reason to smile.

When Bibi was 12, her father promised her in marriage to a Taliban fighter to pay a debt. She was handed over to his family who abused her and forced her to sleep in the stable with the animals. When she attempted to run away, she was caught and, as a punishment, her nose and ears were sliced off by her husband while her father-in-law held a gun to her head.

'When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out. In the middle of the night it felt like there was cold water in my nose. I opened my eyes and I couldn't even see because of all the blood,' she said. Left for dead in the mountains, she crawled to her grandfather's house and her father managed to get her to an American medical facility, where medics nursed her for ten weeks. They then sent her to a secret women's shelter in Kabul and in August she was flown to the U.S. by the Grossman Burn Foundation to stay with a host family.

In October last year she had a prosthetic nose fitted at the non-profit humanitarian Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital in California. Dr Peter Grossman said they hope to give Aisha a more 'permanent solution' but plans for more surgery are on hold because she is still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and needs more time to heal.

Bibi has since found out that her father-in-law Haji Suleiman has been arrested by Afghan police. The 45 year old man held a gun to her head while his son sliced off her nose and ears and then took the body parts and paraded them around his village. 'This is against Afghan-ism, against Afghan and Shariah laws, against every principle in the world, against humanity, so that’s why we wanted to bring him to justice,' said General Juma Gul Himat, provincial police chief of Uruzgan province. 'He made a big mistake,' the general said. 'He disfigured a creature of God.'