It has been two months since a group of armed men stoned an Afghan teenage girl to death, but the ordeal for her family is far from over as they accuse security institutions of not having arrested the culprits.
Rukhshana, a 19-year-old girl from Ghor, was stoned to death allegedly by Taliban militants after she reportedly ran off with a man.
Her family has meanwhile warned it will commit mass suicide if something is not done soon to arrest those responsible for her death. The family says those responsible for her death are in the Feroz Koh area of the province.
“If government does not come up with solid action and meet our demands for justice, I will bring the rest of my children to government doors to immolate them so that the Taliban become happy and the government sees it,” Rukhshana’s father Abdul Karim said.
But Ghor police claim to have arrested one of the suspects.
However, Rukhshana’s family reject these claims and say the person arrested by police is Rukhshana’s uncle who according to them had no link to the murder.
“Police failed to catch the killers of Rukhshana. My brother who relocated Rukhshana’s family from Ghalmin to the center of the province to avoid Taliban threats has now been arrested and government calls it an achievement,” Rukhshana’s uncle Abdul Qadir said.
Police however insist that the man arrested in connection with Rukhshana’s murder is linked to the tragedy. They claim they have sufficient evidence to prove his ties to the stoning.
“A suspect whom our detectives arrested in connection with the killing of Rukhshana has a criminal record lying with us. Police arrested him and handed him to the attorney general’s office,” Ghor police chief Mustafa Mohseni said.
“So far they [government] have done nothing for us, they only transferred my mother to a safe house. But me and the rest of my family members are still homeless,” Rukhshana’s brother said.
Despite 28 individuals having been identified by security institutions for their part in the murder, none of them have so far been arrested.
Meanwhile, local officials in Balkh province have said that sexual assault against women in remote villages of the northern province of Balkh have increased recently, an increase that has raised concerns over the protection of women against violence and violation of their rights.
“Most cases are reported in the districts, because the level of awareness among residents is low – sometimes they try to hide the violent cases,” head of Balkh’s women affairs department Shahla Hadid said.
305 cases of violence against women were recorded so far this year in Balkh province – including torture, sexual abuse and murders.
According to Hadid, four sexual assault cases on women have been recorded in Balkh this year – with two of them against girls under the age of 18.