The US newsmagazine Time has frontpaged the gruesome picture of Aisha, an 18 year old girl, whose nose and ears have been hacked off by the Taliban for trying to flee her in-laws, reports The Daily Mail, London.
With her clear skin and dark, flowing hair, Aisha would ordinarily have stood out from a crowd because of her beauty. But now, tragically, the young Afghan woman is eye-catching for a horrifically different reason.
Aisha is a victim of Taliban brutality, her nose and ears barbarically hacked off by her own husband in a warped punishment for attempting to flee her cruel in-laws.
Held down by her brother-in-law, the young bride endured the agony of the man she married disfiguring her face with a knife. The photograph is a stark reminder of the fate awaiting independent-minded women if the Taliban regain power.
The magazine is running the front page, with the headline What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan, as coalition countries set a timetable for the withdrawal of international forces from the country.
Influential voices in Afghanistan are suggesting that the West must bring the Taliban to the negotiating table to thrash out a peace deal as part of the exit strategy.
But women - who were treated as little more than slaves under the hardline regime's rule - believe they will bear the brunt of any reconciliation.
Touching her face, Aisha told the magazine: 'They are the people who did this to me. How can we reconcile with them?'
Her concerns were echoed by Fawzia Koofi, a female member of the Afghan parliament, who said: 'Women's rights must not be the sacrifice by which peace is achieved.'
Aisha now lives in a secret women's shelter in Kabul, but she dreams of leaving the Afghan capital and flying to the U.S. for reconstructive surgery paid for by a humanitarian organisation.
Coalition countries are setting a timetable for the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan but many are worried that Afghan women will find be in more danger if there is reconcilliation
She was mutilated after last year attempting to flee her home, where she had been subjected to a life of misery at the hands of her husband's family.
When she was caught, a local Taliban commander acting as judge ordered the medieval-style punishment.
Time managing editor Richard Stengel explained his decision to use the shocking image. He said: 'I would rather confront readers with the Taliban's treatment of women than ignore it.
'I would rather people know that reality as they make up their minds about what the U.S. and its allies should do in Afghanistan.'