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KABUL – In yet another case of child marriage, a 60-year-old Afghan cleric has been arrested after he married a six-year-old girl, officials said on Friday.

Mohammad Karim is being held in the central Ghor province. He has claimed the girl’s parents gave her to him as a “religious offering”, Afghan media reported on Saturday.

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.

As per media reports, “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 woman’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 and our investigation is ongoing,” said Abdul Hai Khatibi, the governor’s spokesman.

The arrest comes just days after a 14-year-old pregnant girl was burned to death in Ghor, in a case that sparked shock waves in Afghanistan.

The family of that girl, Zahra, said she was tortured and set alight by her husband’s family. But relatives of the teenager’s husband insisted her death was by self-caused.