Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Aesha Mohammadzai After Afghanistan


Aesha Mohammadzai has given her first TV interview since undergoing surgery on the horrific facial wounds inflicted on her by a Taliban soldier she was forced to marry.


Sold by her father at 12 to a Taliban family, Aesha had no choice but to become the wife of one of its fighters at 16.

She fled, but was caught and jailed before being handed back to her then-husband, whose own brutal punishment was to cut off Aesha's nose and ears.

Recounting her her ordeal to ITV's Daybreak, she said: "Every day I was abused by my husband and his family. Mentally and physically. I thought about escaping all the time.

"Then one day it became unbearable. So I ran away. They caught me and put me in jail for five months. When I came out the judge sent me back to my husband."

The 2010 cover showing Aesha's captivating, determined eyes peering above the gaping wound where her nose should have been is one of the influential magazine's most memorable - and made the teen and her story a global talking point.

"That night they took me to the mountains. I didnt know what was going on. They tied my hands and my feet and there were other people there too - Taliban. They said my punishment was to cut my nose and ears. And then they started to do it."


Aesha had never even heard of the magazine when she agreed to have her photograph taken to highlight the Taliban's treatment of women. As her name was spreading across the globe, Time and various charities paid to fly her to America to undergo extensive surgery.

Now 21 and recovering from multiple operations, she revealed her reconstructed features to Daybreak, telling the show she was "very happy" with the remarkable results.

She added: "I want to tell all women suffering abuse to be strong and never give up."

Aesha has made the US her home, living with an adoptive family, above, in Maryland


Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features



Inspirational Quotes From Female Writers


Team GB's Olympic female medal winners


Literature's Feistiest Females


The best A-list Instagrams from the weekend

From Ella Eyre’s autumnal spirit to Serena Williams’ mother-daughter selfie

by Nicola Colyer
16 Oct 2017

Nigella Lawson reveals why red is the ultimate foodie colour

As she tracks her gastronomic love affair with all things crimson

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Oct 2017

Big Bang Theory star faces fierce criticism for Harvey Weinstein op-ed

“I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms”

by Moya Crockett
16 Oct 2017

Kate Hudson’s brilliant comment in response to seeking male approval

She might even bring back the Mullet

by Susan Devaney
16 Oct 2017

Kate Winslet defied boss when she left Weinstein out of Oscars speech

“I remember being told, ‘Make sure you thank Harvey if you win’”

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Oct 2017

Evan Rachel Wood wants you to know why she hasn’t named her rapists

Everyone needs to watch this powerful and emotional video message

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Oct 2017

James Corden apologises for those “offensive” Harvey Weinstein jokes

After Rose McGowan furiously dubbed him a “f**king piglet” for making light of the scandal

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Oct 2017

Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas confirm engagement with in-sync posts

But don’t worry, GoT fans: Maisie Williams is still the big love of Turner’s life!

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Oct 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Kristen Bell’s magical find to Ariana Grande’s touching tribute

by Nicola Colyer
13 Oct 2017

JK Rowling nails the huge problem with this viral sexual assault tweet

Twitter has applauded the Harry Potter author for this expert takedown

by Kayleigh Dray
13 Oct 2017