Nazia Hookum Darr, 16, was brutally attacked here by her 40-year-old husband of three months on Christmas day. The man - who is still on the run from police - broke 16 of his wife's teeth, shaved her head, cut off her nose and ears and poured scalding water on her hands and feet. The young woman is set to receive plastic surgery in Kabul following close coordination between the Afghan government and Provincial Reconstruction Team Qalat, a joint U.S. Air Force and Army unit stationed here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Michael Gauron. Date Taken: January 29th, 2008. Location: Qalat, AF.)
Nazia's story is below:
Abused Afghan Woman to Receive Plastic Surgery
By Air Force Capt. Bob Everdeen
Provincial Reconstruction Team Qalat
QALAT, Afghanistan — A 16-year-old woman brutally attacked by her
husband in December is set to receive plastic surgery in Kabul
following close coordination between the Afghan government and
Provincial Reconstruction Team Qalat, a joint U.S. Air Force and Army
unit stationed here.
Nazia Hookum Darr was beaten and disfigured by her 40-year-old husband
of three months on Christmas Day. The man—who is still on the run from
police—broke 16 of his wife’s teeth, shaved her head, cut off her nose
and ears and poured scalding water on her hands and feet. The abuse
started shortly after their wedding and escalated until the attack on
PRT Commander Army Lt. Col. James Bramble found out about the attack
the day after it happened. “The story was so compelling that we
immediately contacted the provincial governor and arranged a trip to
the local hospital to visit the doctors taking care of the girl,” he
The following day representatives from the PRT met with Zabul province
Chief of Staff Gulab Shah and the local Director of the Interior, and
then traveled to Zabul Provincial Hospital to meet with Darr in the
women’s ward. Due to Afghan sensitivities, only a female translator and
chief physician were allowed to meet with the abused woman.
“Nazia’s wounds were healing well and she was well taken care of by the
Afghan physicians,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Gauron, PRT chief
medical officer. “The hospital staff, especially the female nurses,
really rallied around Nazia. We made frequent visits, bringing soft
foods and paying for some of her meals. Some of the time she was in
excellent spirits and other times you could see the fear in her eyes.”
The hospital staff relayed Nazia’s fears of retribution from her
husband or his family members as part of Pashtunwali, a pre-Islamic-era
honor code that is still practiced by the majority of Afghans in this
rural province of the country.
My husband “was an older man with gray hair and he was mean to me from
the time we met,” Darr said. “I had no choice; my mother died when I
was young and my stepmother arranged the marriage. I’m afraid of him.
He’s a former Talib. In Qalat my husband was jobless and was always
complaining about economic problems. Two weeks after we moved into our
new home he beat me for no obvious reason.”
According to Afghan national police, the man’s first wife died about a
year earlier under suspicious circumstances. His anger at his current
wife comes from suspicions of infidelity, accusations his wife
“There was an outpouring of sympathy,” Gauron said. “We had American
military surgeons, two international nongovernmental organizations and
the Afghan National Military Hospital all volunteering to help. After
discussing the options, we elected to facilitate Nazia’s transport to
Kabul and have Afghans take care of her.”
Gauron worked medical issues through Dr. Gary Davis, an American
surgeon working with the NMH in Kabul. Davis obtained consent from
plastic surgeon Gen. (Dr.) Mohammad to accept the patient transfer.
Meanwhile, Bramble worked the political side, obtaining permission of
Zabul province Gov. Delbar Jan Arman to allow military transport of
Nazia to the hospital in Kabul. Arman coordinated with the Minister of
Women’s Affairs in Kabul to take care of Nazia while she is in the
In mid-January, Nazia was flown by military airlift to Kabul.
“Once we were in Kabul, I immediately called Dr. Davis and the Minister
of Women’s Affairs,” Gauron said. “The doctor immediately arranged a
bed for Nazia, and the Director of Women’s Affairs sent a male and
female escort to bring Nazia to the hospital.”
“When we made the transfer with the representatives at the gate, Nazia
cried,” said PRT Interpreter Spozhmae Karzai. “We will miss her, but
we’re so happy she is getting to the plastic surgeons. She deserves it.”
The tragic event provided living proof that governance is making
progress and is being accepted by the people of Afghanistan. Thanks to
the diligent work from numerous Afghan agencies the young girl will get
the surgery she requires to regain her dignity and have an opportunity
of living a normal life.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.