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Afghan girl whose nose was cut off meets with local doctors, prepares for treatment

Time_55434968 An Afghan girl featured on the Aug. 9 cover of Time magazine after her nose was cut off met with Southland doctors this week in preparation for treatment.

The 18-year-old, identified only as Bibi Aisha (Miss Aisha), told Time that her nose and ears were cut off by her abusive husband -- with Taliban approval -- to punish her for running away. The controversial photo appeared with the headline, "What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan."

The Grossman Burn Foundation, based in Calabasas, paid to bring Aisha to Los Angeles, found an Afghan host family that speaks Pashtun and is funding her treatment at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital. That could include a prosthetic nose or reconstruction of her nose and ears using bone, tissue and cartilage from the rest of her body, according to Dr. Peter Grossman, a plastic surgeon and the center’s co-director.

Aisha has met with Grossman and other surgeons twice since she arrived last week, most recently on Thursday, according to a statement released Friday by foundation spokeswoman Stacy Tilliss.

“The purpose of these meetings has been to evaluate her physically and emotionally in order to determine the best course for her treatment, and to explain to her everything the surgeries will entail so she can make informed decisions before consenting to moving ahead with the operations,” Tilliss said.

“This is a difficult time for any patient, but especially so for Bibi Aisha,” Tillis wrote. “She has not agreed to make any media appearances yet, and her doctors feel that exposing her to the kind of intense media scrutiny that she faced before coming to the Grossman Burn Center would only distract her from focusing on this critically important phase of her treatment plan.”  

Aisha had been given away by her Pashtun family in Oruzgan province at the age of 16 to pay a debt and married to a Taliban fighter, according to her account. She fled, but her husband’s family tracked her down last year and, upon order from a Taliban court, her husband cut off her nose and left her in the mountains to die, according to a statement on the foundation’s website.

“Bibi Aisha is only one example of thousands of girls and women in Afghanistan and throughout the world who are treated this way,” the statement said. “Aisha is reminded of that enslavement every time she looks in the mirror. But there still times she can laugh. And at that moment you see her teenage spirit escaping a body that has seen a lifetime of injustice.”

Aisha was assisted by an American military provincial reconstruction team and a women’s shelter in Kabul, where she stayed until last week, when she boarded a plane to the U.S. via London, leaving behind a sister and other family, according to the foundation statement and Tilliss.

Officials at Women for Afghan Women, the nonprofit that operates the Kabul shelter, have said Aisha’s case shows why international forces must not leave the country.

“Soldiers in Afghanistan saved Bibi’s life, nursed her back to health in their clinic, flew her to the WAW shelter,” said Esther Hyneman, a member of the Fresh Meadow, N.Y.-based group’s board, in a statement posted on their website last week.

“As we write this letter, a female soldier from that base who established a deep relationship with Bibi is flying to California to meet Bibi’s plane, to provide the love and support Bibi will need in the next few months. The presence of soldiers may not have stopped the horrendous abuse Bibi suffered, but that does not mean they should leave.”

For more information, contact stacy@grossmanburnfoundation.org or call  (818) 597-5211 or visit http://www.grossmanburnfoundation.org/aisha.htm

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Bibi Aisha, 18. Credit: Jodi Bieber-Institute for TIME/Aug. 9, 2010
Comments () | Archives (17)

Happy Ramadan!

Why do Muslims engage in violent intimidation? Because it works. Until people are willing to stand up and defy it, it will continue to work.

Before thousands of people go off half cocked about how Islam is such a terrible religion and how Muslims are so bad I should tell you that I am from the UK and presently living in Indonesia where I have been married to a beautiful Muslim girl for over seven years. I just want to point out that this sort of thing does not happen here so please blame the husband and the Taliban, not the religion.

Good Luck Bibi you are in good hands! Bless all you good people at the Burn center. You are true heroes.

Islamic fundamentalism has as much to do with the barbaric treatment of women as Christianity practiced in a fundamentalist manner. A prime example: both Sub-Saharan African Christians and Muslims will practice female genital mutilation (though many more Muslims practice than Christians.)

I'd say the problems are a pervasive cultural problem of patriarchal societies. It's not the religion that's the problem per se; it's all in the individual cultural interpretation.

remove every female from Afghanistan . problem solved.

This is what the left wing does not see or care to see. They only want to make themselves feel good because they come up with stupid reasons why we should not go to war. The world has evil in it, regardless of what are views are. The question then is do we or are we able to do something about it?

@Raul, I agree. Osama Ben Laden is correct; America is a Paper Tiger. "We can't be the world's police." "Who do we want to invade next?" Blah, blah, blah. Americans do not care about "backward", "third-world" countries if they might shoot at our soldiers; fighting the Taliban is too dirty and somebody might get hurt. We will abandon them like we abandoned Vietnam.

I remember when Bibi came to my base in Afghanistan. She was so scared. Then she started to warm up to people, but was always nerves aroud males.

This story brings to mind a TV show and a particular episode that was burned into my brain. It is about Religious Extremism. The Taliban are extremists. It seems nearly every relition has its extremists. When we do not separate church and state as Jesus told us to do when he advised us to allow the government to do its work and allow the church to do its work then we are in deep trouble as a civilization. Please, someone, correct me if I am wrong. I believe that Jesus is a recognized prophet in some Eastern Religions.


I use this video to show what many Christians do not want to talk about. In our Bible some horrendous practices were approved for punishment of certain deeds. How is it that we have advanced beyond these scriptural punishments. To me, it means that we have realized that our religious books and prophets do not expect us to stand still in our pursuit of our basic beliefs. I think the laws laid down by our religion's founders were meant for people of the time, but not for people of all times. Did the founders expect progress, learning, or lawmaking to stand still. If they did, it was because they had no idea of what could be possible.
The story of the brutality commited on this young woman says to me that the
Taliban and such religious extremism have left their basic religious concepts behind. In fact, they have been trampled upon. Jesus gave us good advice.
Separate church and government so that each may grow in its proper path.

This is what the left wing does not see or care to see. They only want to make themselves feel good because they come up with stupid reasons why we should not go to war. The world has evil in it, regardless of what are views are. The question then is do we or are we able to do something about it?

Posted by: Raul | August 14, 2010 at 11:41 AM
When you go to war against the wishes of the victims who do not wish to participate in that war THAT IS STUPID. If you want the yoke of evildoers removed you MUST try to do it yourself, hopefully with the help of those who support your desires. We have been involved in two wars that have resulted in nationbuilding. How will that end? How many times have friendly people tried to help the Afghans? How many have succeeded. So far, Raul, that score is ZERO and a lot of dead soldiers. Did you participate? You think this is another of those left wing stupid reasons? This stupid left winger asks what will it do for these people after we have killed their young men and they have killed ours and left our economy at the edge of the cliff and their countries in shambles. I certainly hope that when it is finished these two countries will be able to carry on democratically so that all will not have been done in vain. Please see my other post. It is aprapos.

@Ann Anon
Jesus did not tell us to separate church and state. In fact, if you will look closely at the documentation, it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote a letter to the Elders of a church who wrote that infamous line (separate church and state). I say infamous because people have repeatedly grossly taken that phrase out of context.Jefferson wanted a to separate the state from the church to protect the church. He wanted to take the state out of the church, not the church out of the state. Most people who held public office had degrees in Theology (I think it might have been a requirement, but am not sure).

Truly, the gist of what Christ says is that we should have love and kindness and generosity all the time, no matter what we are doing, where we are doing it. That means home and work (even if you are a civil servant!). We are not to separate the church and state. We are to be the church wherever we go. "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God" (1 Corin. 10:31).

As for this young woman, I praise God she escaped from Afghan. I realize there are thousands more like her. My prayers go out to her.

As for why it happens...who am I to say. I do not know a lot about the Muslim religion, so can I say it is because of extremists or simply people who love and crave violence? I do know that an extreme Christian should be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). I hope and pray that I would walk like Jesus and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit...an extremist!

This reads like a typical piece of propaganda for why we should be invading Muslim countries. This sort of thing can happen anywhere, and isolated cases like this should not serve as an example to point a finger to a whole nation. How about in the USA where a boyfriend kills her girlfriend and dumps her body like garbage? Should that serve as an example that indeed the USA needs to be invaded and occupied until we got rid of all the dysfunctional people?

I think this very hard on women in other counties

Family Abuse Is Real I Am That Victim So I Know
By D.K.Milgrim-Heath©2010
Family abuse is real I am that victim so I know-
For many years my family (by marriage) did that to me so.
The international story of Aisha moved me fully story so much-
I just wanted to hold her in my arms giving her ‘surrogate mother reassurance’ a needed touch.
Time magazine gave Aisha worldwide coverage I got the courage to speak publicly about this as you read-
Woman’s abuse is a real horror story truly a victim’s remembers that for life indeed.
I’ve also been downtown to the local abuse unit for many a bruise-
That made me the ‘poster child in all my family’ being that different news.
No one in my family ever went through that for sure.
They were never abused so badly enabling authorities needing photos before.
Really having that experience is so different in real life-
By movies, TV, photos and book descriptions when you’re in strife.
I‘m speaking for all abused victims in this world-
As truth of worldwide women’s abuse is explored worldwide and unfurled.
Worldwide all women must do something in their power to halt the horrors of abuse-
To educate all for permanently stopping it forever so its perpetrators can’t give it any more practical use.

Rob: if we could only do it. But we can't. It's nice to know that there are men out there who find this barbaric as well. We need to set up an underground railway to help theses women...........and their children....

Jean: this has nothing to do with the US or the International Community wanting to steal the oil in the Middle East. This has to do with slavery and rape of children and the denegration of women............ No. Nov one has the right to put a puppet government in and let that government bleed the people so that they can steal the countries wealth in it's oil.
I am talking slavery. and the denegration of women. We need to set up an underground railway to help the women, and their children to freedom. We need to aid their slavery and their suffering. And the international courts should stand up and fight over the theft of the countries resources.


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