The number of Afghan women jailed for fleeing forced and abusive marriages has soared since 2011, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. About 600 women and girls are in prison for fleeing their families, up from 400 eighteen months ago. Rape victims are also incarcerated for the crime of “forced adultery.” As Emma Graham-Harrison writes in The Guardian, the Human Rights Watch report came just days after Afghanistan’s Parliament, bowing to religious conservatives, failed to pass a landmark bill dealing with violence against women. Among the provisions the conservatives objected to was a minimum marriage age of 16. “There are growing concerns that hard-won rights for women are under threat as Western troops head home, taking with them much of the scrutiny and some of the funds that have helped support progress since the fall of the Taliban over a decade ago,” writes Graham-Harrison.
Officials also objected to minimum marriage age of 16, according to report.