Publication Date



In this paper, I will examine three cases of violence against women that went through the Afghan formal legal system: the case of Farkhunda, the Paghman district gang rape case, and the case of Sahar Gul. In the first Part, I will discuss the formal legal system framework on which the cases are based. In the second Part, I will discuss the cases in detail. In the third Part, I will describe neo-liberal, reformist, and neo-fundamentalist approaches to interpretation of Islamic law, and I will then draw out pieces of the decisions from the three cases that closely match these tenets. Finally, I will use these interpretations to argue that Afghanistan can improve its legal system through such advancements as the televising of trials, the creation of a civil remedy system, and a call for activism, which would enable an understanding of Islam that is more favorable to women’s rights.