An Afghan woman was strangled to death by her husband and mother-in-law for giving birth to a baby girl (her third daughter) instead of a much sought-after son, according to reports.
Authorities in the north-eastern part of the country have arrested Wali Hazrata, who remains in police custody, who has denied the charges.
The dead woman’s husband is also suspected of complicity in the killing but has reportedly fled away.
BBC reported that Hazrata tied the feet of the young mother, a 22-year old woman named as Stori, while Stori's husband strangled her.
The husband is also reportedly a member of an illegal militant gang that enjoys some political support in the area.
The New York Times identified the husband as Sher Mohammad.
The murder took place two days ago in the village of Mahfalay, in the district of Khanabad in Kunduz province.
She [the murdered woman] lived in a hell not a house. But then she also asked her husband to stay home and avoid going out with these thugs, a neighbor told the BBC.
The infant girl, who is now two months old, was unhurt.
As with many South Asian societies, girls are viewed as a burden upon a family for a variety of reasons, while boys are more prized. Among other reasons, when girls are married off, they can cost a significant dowry.
Nadera Geya, a leading Afghan women’s rights activist, declared: it was a brutal crime committed against an innocent woman.
Geya further said: “Her mother-in-law strangled her with a rope and said she committed suicide herself, which is not true. They killed her because they did not want her to bear any more girls. They had disputes with her even before this.”
According to reports even some local religious leaders condemned the murder as an affront to Islam and humanity.
Manizha Naderi, executive director of Women for Afghan Women, told the New York Times: “Girls are looked down upon in Afghanistan. I have heard of many cases where the wife is threatened with violence and beaten up, but I have never heard of a woman being killed for having a girl.”
Heather Barr, a researcher for Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, told the Times that violence against women in endemic in Afghanistan.
“What is most disappointing is that the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women law was supposed to change this, and it has had very little impact so far,” she said.