to a Taliban
fighter by her father when she was 12 to satisfy an
obligation, Aisha was married at 14 and had been used
as a servant and forced to sleep in an outbuilding with
her in-laws' animals. When she fled their abuse, neighbors
turned her in.
She was jailed briefly, and her father retrieved her
and returned her to his in-laws, after being assured
they would treat her better. Instead, her husband walked
her into a mountain clearing and held her down while
his brother chopped off her nose and ears as other Talib
watched. Then they left her to die in the mountains
where they'd disfigured her.
"I passed out," she said in an interview with
CNN's Atia Abawi. "In the middle of the night it
felt like there was cold water in my nose."
It was her own blood, so much of it, she told Abawi.
"I couldn’t even see…"
Somehow Aisha managed to feel her way to her grandfather's
home, where she was hidden and then spirited away to
a medical center run by the U.S. military, who eventually
transferred her to a privately-run women's shelter...
After 10 weeks' care, Aisha was stabilized enough to
go to the Grossman
Burn Center for a series of rehabilitative surgeries
that the center had offered to perform pro bono.
Aisha appeared (below)
at a Grossman Burn Foundation fundraiser in a traditional
embroidered caftan and a sheer scarf draped over her
wavy black hair. It was the first time she'd been seen
in public since arriving in the U.S. The radiant 19
year old was wearing a prosthetic nose, something that
indicated how she would look when the several reconstructive
surgeries are completed. She didn't speak, but her smile
Aisha was wearing the kind of nose actors often do for
a part. Her goal is still to have a permanent one. But
getting there will be a tough slog: she'll have to have
bone and cartilage reconstructed, possibly from flaps
of her own skin and several surgeries. But within a
year, doctors expect she'll have a nose that not only
completes her face, but that can do what her old nose
did -- twitch when it itches, smell, even sneeze.
Aisha, now 19, told The
Daily Beast last year, 2009, that her father (after
being alerted by her grandfather) saved her by bringing
her to the Americans in Afghanistan for medical treatment.
But, she says, he cautioned her about talking about
her attack. He suggested a cover story, something she
refused to do.
"I will tell them all these things because I am
not such a person to lie; I will tell them because I
think my story must be told." -- Source: Time Magazine,