Police in Ghor province on Friday reported that security forces have arrested a 60-year-old man for allegedly marrying a six-year-old girl, whose family claims she was abducted by the man.
The man, named Mohammad Karim, has claimed that the girl was offered to him as a gift by her father while he was teaching her.
Ghor police have dismissed the claims and said that the victim had been kidnapped by the cleric from Herat a month ago.
The suspect, who is now in police custody, has claimed that the girl had been offered to him by her father, however they married on the first night of Eid ul-Fitr.
“We formally got engaged, her family told me to take her anywhere you want,” said the man.
Ghor police have said the girl’s family has accused the cleric of abducting their child a month ago from Obah in Herat.
“The family of the girl rejected the claims that they married; the family said that the girl had been lost, the victim’s father and mother are now on their way to Ghor and we hope that they arrive soon so that the police can get to the bottom of the issue,” said Zaman Azimi, the Ghor police chief.
Meanwhile, Ghor women’s affairs department has condemned the incident.
The victim is being cared for at a safe house and children and women rights groups have pledged to seek justice for the victim.
“For now, the department of women’s affairs cannot issue a verdict on the case, we are determined to make the case clear,” said Masooma Anwari, head of Ghor women’s affairs department.
The reports come amid a rise in violence against women and girls. Reports indicate that in the past 15 years, 95 percent of all criminals involved in such acts in the country were not prosecuted.