Polygamy in Afghanistan

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The Republic of Afghanistan, which is an Islamic Republic under Sharia Law, allows for polygyny. Afghan men may take up to four wives, as Islam allows for such. A man must treat all of his wives equally; however, it has been reported that these regulations are rarely followed. Other reports have made it apparent that most Afghan women would rather be a man's third or fourth wife than remain single, even if she is abused or unfairly treated by her husband.[1]

Large numbers of Afghan men cannot afford to buy a wife (through providing money for dowries and weddings). When the nonprofit International Council on Security and Development interviewed more than 420 Afghan men in 2010, 82 percent suggested that the best way to discourage young men from joining the Taliban would be to provide them with money for dowries and weddings.[2] In general, there are not enough women for some men to have multiple wives and, at the same time, for every man to have one wife.

In 2009, President Hamid Karzai issued a decree known as the Elimination of Violence Against Women Act. The decree, which would have outlawed polygamy, was never ratified by the legislature.[3]


  1. ^ Afghanistan: Family Code
  2. ^ Weiss, Kenneth R. (July 22, 2012). "Runaway population growth often fuels youth-driven uprisings". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ Nordland, Rod; Sukhanyar, Jawad (7 November 2015). "Afghan Mullah Leading Stoning Inquiry Condones Practice". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 November 2016.