Afghan Women's Rights

Early Marriage

Reports show that child marriage is pervasive in many rural areas of Afghanistan. A 2012 study by the United Nations Population Fund revealed that Afghanistan was among the 41 countries in which 30 percent or more of the women aged 20 to 24 were reported to be married by the age of 18. A study by the Afghan Ministry of Public Heath also showed that over half of all women in the 25-49 age group were married by the age of 18, with 21 percent married by the age of 15.

The legal age for marriage in Afghanistan is either 15 or 16 years for girls and 18 years for men. But extreme poverty, strong patriarchal values and poor access to education have led to the prevalence of marriages before that age, experts say. Other cultural practices such as bride price, child engagement and exchange marriage are also contributing factors.
The Afghan government committed in 2009 to ending the practice in five years, but Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) say cases of child marriages have only increased since then.


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