‘I’ll be sacrificed’: The lost and sold daughters of Afghanistan

The last time Aalam Gul Jamshidi saw her daughter was the night the 16 year old was married off to a man more than twice her age.

Aziz Gul looked radiant in a sequinned, white wedding dress and a bright yellow headscarf, but there was fear in her otherwise solemn expressions. “If I go there, I’ll be sacrificed,” her mother remembers her daughter pleading that night last October.

Aalam Gul had a sinking feeling but convinced herself it was just nerves. Aziz Gul’s marriage had been arranged four years prior and now that the time had come, she knew it was her duty to encourage her daughter into a new family.

In Afghan culture, once a female marries, she moves in with her in-laws. Aziz Gul left her family’s home in Gozar Gah, a suburb of Herat, and moved to her new husband Musa’s home in Jawand, a rural district some 200km (124 miles) away – too far for her family to visit easily.

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