Afghan man mutilated pregnant wife
A woman is critically ill in northern Afghanistan after her husband nearly beat her to death, and cut part of her genitals, family members say.
The incident happened in the Ashkamish district of Takhar province.
The victim, who is in her 20s, told the BBC that she did not know the reason for the attack.
Although such mutilation is rare in Afghanistan, reports of violence against women are increasing.
The woman is now in hospital in Kunduz.
Her brother confirmed the nature of the injuries to the BBC, saying his aunt had seen the results of the mutilation.
A doctor at the clinic said the victim was six months pregnant, but lost the baby as a result of the violence.
'Shaved parts of her head'
The woman says her husband attacked her without any reason with a big wooden stick, cut her hair with scissor and shaved parts of her head.
She says his mother and and her sister-in-law helped her husband to tie her up with rope and beat her from head to toe.
The Takhar provincial government's women's department provided photos of the victim, who appeared badly bruised, to the BBC.
The police commander of Takhar, Noor Muhammad Hakimi, said: "The accused is on the run." He also confirmed that a case had been opened against three people, including the husband.
Previous cases of mutilation included two incidents in which husbands cut off their wives' noses.
In a second case of gender violence in less than 24 hours, a 20-year-old was reportedly shot dead by members of her husband's family in northern Faryab province.
The head of the provincial human rights commission told the BBC that the young woman's in-laws had accused her of having an affair.
Sayed Hafizullah Fitra said the victim had initially been handed over to local elders and clerics.
But one tribal elder told BBC Afghan that he could not stop others handing the woman over to her in-laws despite his warnings she might be killed.
He also said the victim had been pregnant.
The Faryab police spokesman, Karim Yourush, said the woman's father-in-law had disappeared.
The killing happened in an area where the Afghan government has very limited control. The husband is reported to be in Iran.
Many people in Afghanistan say education and empowerment are key to reducing the high incidence of violence against women.
A landmark Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women came into effect in 2009, but most evidence shows that it remains largely unimplemented and unenforced.