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Arrested Afghan cleric defends marriage to six-year-old girl, saying she was a ‘religious offering’


An elderly Afghan cleric has been arrested after he married a six-year-old girl, officials said on Friday, in the latest case highlighting the scourge of child marriages in the war-battered country.

Mohammad Karim, said to be aged around 60, was held in central Ghor province as he claimed her parents gave him the girl as a “religious offering”, officials said.

But they cited the family of the girl, believed to be in shock, as saying that she was abducted from western Herat province, bordering Iran.

“This girl does not speak, but repeats only one thing: ‘I am afraid of this man’,” said Masoom Anwari, head of the women affairs department in Ghor.

The girl is currently in a women’s shelter in Ghor and her parents are on their way to the province to collect her, the local governor’s office said.

“Karim has been jailed


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