Weddings are hugely expensive affairs in Afghanistan, with excessive costs for wedding halls, lavish meals and usually a bride price. It is a contested tradition that is viewed as having no foundation in Islamic law and does not appear in the new draft marriage law. It is also not to be confused with the dowry mahr which should be given to the bride in case her husband dies or divorces her. Almost all weddings in Afghanistan start with matchmaking. When the families have agreed to the marriage the real negotiations around the wedding and the bride price start and usually take place at the house of the bride-to-be. However, the negotiations about the bride price can be lengthy.
In Taliban’s wake, more Afghans say marriage can wait
Family stucture and marriage - Norwegian Afghanistan Committee
But not always. So it has been with three Afghan friends, whose unrelated cases were all so awful that they are painful to talk about even now that the three are young women, years after the trauma. Each of them escaped a forced marriage as a child, is lucky to be alive, and knows it. Each of them has big dreams — despite what has happened, and because of it.
Under Afghan law, civil and religious marriage ceremonies may be performed for some foreigners. Afghans who are dual nationals are treated solely as Afghan under the law. It is not possible for a non-Muslim man to marry a Muslim woman in Afghanistan, but it is possible for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim, foreign, woman. Additionally, the court will not register marriages involving Afghans who claim not to be Muslim, unless the couple consents to a Muslim religious ceremony.
Child marriage in Afghanistan persists at rates that suggest at least one in three young girls will be married before they turn However, it is not a well-researched phenomenon in this context, and gaps in knowledge regarding prevalence, practice and drivers remain. To do so, mixed methods research was conducted over five provinces across Afghanistan — Bamyan, Kandahar, Paktia, Ghor and Badghis — in urban, semi-urban and rural sampling locations, and included household surveys, case studies, focus groups and interviews. Understandings of childhood and the transition to adulthood strongly impact the practice of child marriage, with differing understandings of what makes a person an adult, and what makes a person prepared for marriage.