Afghan widows are struggling for survival. After their husbands' deaths, the women are faced with rape, poverty and social condemnation. One of them considers her life to have ended before it ever really began.
Gulghotay's world fell apart she when heard the news of her husband's death. They had been married for only three months and now he was suddenly dead. But Gulghotay didn't want to lead the life of a widow. She decided to drink a small bottle of acid and end her life.
Gulghotay lives in the eastern Afghan province of Maidan Wardak. She had been doing housework when a bicycle bomb went off in front of a police station in the neighbouring province of Ghazni, killing two people. Seven civilians were hospitalized, among them Gulghotay's husband. He died shortly thereafter from sustained injuries. His death was a shock for Gulghotay, says Mohammad Azim, brother of the young widow.
According to Azim, his sister was very happy with her husband. But now he is deeply concerned about her: "Gulghotay was at home with a friend when she drank the acid," he said. Fortunately, her friend managed to get her quickly to a hospital.
Women pushed "over the edge" But Gulghotay's fate is shared by many other Afghans. Over the past three decades, thousands of women have lost their husbands or other male relatives during the war. Since they depend on them, the women find it difficult to cope emotionally and financially with the loss and often fall into a state of depression.