A 15-year-old Afghan girl locked away by her in-laws is finally able to see the light of day again.
Afghan police say Pari Gul was found Monday locked in a windowless room in the basement of her husband's house in northeastern Baghlan province.
Gul told police her husband and her in-laws beat her and tortured her with pliers. She also said her mother-in-law shaved her head and pulled out her fingernails.
Officials say Gul was severely beaten on her face and legs and is being treated for her injuries at a hospital. Police say three women, including her mother-in-law, have been arrested. They say her husband fled the area.
Police began searching for Gul after her parents reported her missing. They say Gul was locked in the small, windowless room after her in-laws tried to force her into prostitution and she refused.
Officials say Gul, from the northern province of Badakhshan, was married about seven months ago when she was just 14 years old. They say she was locked away about two months later, but Gul said the torture began right after she was married.
The director of the women's affairs department in Baghlan province, Rahima Zarifi, told VOA Gul was severely tortured both physically and mentally. Zarifi said Gul's physical injuries eventually will heal but that her mental and psychological wounds will remain for a long time.
Afghan laws set the marriage age for girls at 16, and Gul's marriage was not officially registered at a court, as is the case with most marriages in the country.
Almost half of Afghan women are married early, before the age of 16. Young mothers are particularly vulnerable to pregnancy and birth-related death and morbidities.
The director of women's affairs in Balkh province, Feriba Majid, put some of the blame for incidents like the one with Pari Gul on local warlords, who hold extensive power but are not treating women as human beings. She also said law enforcement institutions are very weak and mostly unable to stop warlords from committing human rights violations.