Aesha Mohammadzai became famous across the globe three years ago when she appeared on the cover of Time magazine, disfigured with the front page headline ‘What happens if we leave Afghanistan’.
The 19-year-old became a symbol for the plight of Afghan women after relaying her horrific ordeal at the hands of her husband, who tortured her, cutting off her nose and ears and leaving her for dead for trying to escape their arranged marriage.
Three years on she has a new face and a new life as she sends out a message of hope to ‘all women suffering abuse’.
Speaking to British channel ITV’s Daybreak, she relived the story behind the Time cover.
“Every day I was abused by my husband and his family. Mentally and physically. Then one day it became unbearable so I ran away,” said Aesha, who was promised to a man in marriage at 12 to pay off a debt of her father.
“They caught me and put me in jail for five months. When I came out the judge sent me back to my husband. That night they took me to the mountains.
“They tied my hands and my feet. They said my punishment was to cut my nose and ears. And then they started to do it.”
Aesha managed to flee the country with the help of her grandfather and, with the aid of a charity, made it to America where she now lives with a foster family.
Doctors took tissue from her forearm and transplanted it to her face to form the lower part of the nose and placed an inflatable silicone shell under the skin of her forehead to expand the skin.She says she is ‘happy’ with her new nose and added: “I want to tell all women who are suffering abuse to be strong. Never give up and don't lose hope.”
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