Heroin addict cuts off wife's nose

Monday, December 23, 2013 - 12:00pm

A toxic mix of violence and heroin addition are having a devastating impact on many women in Afghanistan and as CNN's Atika Shubert reports, the problem is getting worse.

Setarah is 30 years-old raising four children with very little money in Herat, Afghanistan and she says, when her husband, an addict, demanded she hand over her jewelry to buy more heroin, she refused.

So, she says, he cut off her nose and lips, "He hit me on the head with a stone, then with the handle of his knife. He cut off my nose, then my lips. He took my mobile phone and the ring I had on my finger. Then he escaped."

Police launched a manhunt and two people have been arrested, but it's not clear if the husband was detained. Setarah's mother says she wants immediate punishment, "I want the authorities to find my son-in-law immediately. The first thing they should do is flay him and then stone him to death. So that other people like him get taught a lesson."

Setarah's case highlights two separate, but equally devastating, epidemics in Afghanistan, a surge in violence against women and a staggering number of heroin addicts.

A recent UN report showed a 28% rise in reports of violence against women in the last year. The number of prosecutions using a new law to halt violence against women has increase by only 2%. Worse, the overall number of prosecutions has decreased.

Afghanistan is the world leader in opium production and is now believed to have more than a million heroin and opium users, one of the highest rates in the world.

The most prevalent form of violence against women, battery and laceration. Setarah's case is just one horrific example. She is now seeking treatment in Turkey.

As American and British troops prepare to withdraw, they have promised to bolster local law enforcement to fight this violence, but Setarah's tragic case shows Afghanistan still faces an uncertain future.

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