Forced marriages contributing to women suicides in Afghanistan

KABUL: Forced marriages and a lack of education were contributing to a recent spate of suicide attempts among women in Afghanistan, Deputy Women’s Affairs Minister Dr. Suraya Sobah Rang said on Thursday.
In response to reports that tens of women in the western city of Herat had committed suicide by self-immolation in the past year, Dr. Sobah Rang said there had been 52 cases of women being admitted to hospital in Herat with burns but only four of these cases had been confirmed as suicide attempts.

Of the 52 women aged between 14 and 60 who were admitted to hospital, 35 had died, she said.

The minister said it was possible that more of these cases were deliberate acts but the women refused to discuss it. “We could only confirm four cases as suicide attempts,” she said.

“Among the rest there could be more suicides but you know, according to Afghan tradition, people are not ready to talk about suicide, it is taboo and they try to hide it.” She said neither the police nor a government delegation sent to Herat to investigate the deaths could determine the true number of suicides.

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