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Thursday, March 19
"advice for others, 'use a gun and do not burn yourself. it is less painful.'
She set fire to herself but, against the odds, survived with appalling injuries.
Her plight reflects that of a growing number of young Afghan women, campaigners say.
Driven to desperation by forced marriages and abusive husbands, more and more are seeking release through self-immolation.
Gulsoom was engaged at the age of 12. Three years later her family married her to a man aged 40 who she says was addicted to drugs.
She was then taken to Iran. Her husband beat her regularly, Gulsoom says, particularly when he had no money for heroin.
"Once after I was badly beaten by my husband, I was in bed when I heard a voice murmuring and telling me to go and set fire to myself," she says.
"I went and poured petrol on my whole body. The flames on my body lasted for minutes. After eight days I found myself conscious in bed.
"I cared about my father's dignity - that's why I tolerated everything."
'No one will marry me'
Gulsoom has had many operations since she divorced her husband and faces many more.
She's not alone - there are hundreds of other women who have tried and failed to kill themselves.
Some women do manage to end their lives, but many survive with huge burns to their faces and bodies, like Gulsoom.
In many cases they have no choice but to return to the husband and the abuse from which they sought escape.
Gulsoom looks hopelessly at her scarred hands saying her only wish now is to be made better, although she says no one will marry her again with her burnt skin.
"When I wore nice clothes my husband showed jealousness," she recalls.
Forced marriages, a culture of family violence and many other social problems are given as causes for the suicides.
Afghan women have long had to suffer violence or mysterious deaths. Even now girls are still handed over in disputes or as compensation in murder cases.
The BBC's Salmi Suhaili, who works on women-related issues, says women taking their lives is not a new phenomenon in what is traditionally a very conservative society.
But the rise of a civil society and a free media is helping to publicise their acts, he says.
Figures given by Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission show that more women burned themselves to death this year in the southern province of Kandahar than anywhere else in the country.
Last year, Herat in the west - where most girls marry at around 15 - was top.
Deputy minister of women's affairs Maliha Sahak says that 197 incidents of self-immolation have been recorded since March 2006, 35 of them in Kandahar province alone. A total of 69 women lost their lives.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan says that Kandahar's only hospital for women, which has 40 beds, received 29 cases of suicide in the space of two months. Twenty of those women had set themselves alight.
Independent Human Rights Commission head Sima Samar regrets that, five years after the Taleban were ousted, Afghan women are still suffering violence in its various forms.
She says suicide is the final decision for women who don't have any other way to solve their problems or escape abuse
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