Afghan woman Aesha Mohammadzai, who had her face mutilated by her abusive husband, has finally begun reconstructive surgery to replace her hacked off nose.
It has been almost two years since Mohammadzai arrived in America having been brutally tortured in Afghanistan by her husband.
He hacked off her nose and ears after she tried to escape their abusive forced marriage leaving her mentally traumatised and horrifically disfigured.
With the move to the United States came the promise of reconstructive surgery but it has been delayed as she battles with the psychological torment of her ordeal, and of leaving her homeland for a country where she speaks very little of the language.
Mohammadzai is expected to undergo six operations, over the course of the next two years, the first of which took place on Thursday morning at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, CNN reported.
It began the process of expanding the skin in her forward for future use in rebuilding her nose.
Mohammadzai's treatment at the military centre was secured by US Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and his office.
"People know we take care of wounded soldiers. That's kind of an obligation; what else could you do?" the Daily Mail quoted him as telling CNN.
"But this - you don't have to do this. It puts a real human face on our military. How can your heart not go out to Aesha?" he said.
The 22-year-old was accompanied to the hospital by Mati and Jamila Arsala, a couple who have been caring for her.
They have set up a website called Aesha's Journey where messages of support and donations can be posted.
"I'm not scared. I'm happy. I suffered a lot in my life. Now I feel that a light comes into my life," she told the news site before the operation.
Mohammadzai will face looking far worse before she begins to look better, and the surgeries will bring about severe pain and discomfort.
The young girl's story was first told by Time magazine, who published a harrowing photograph of her on the front page, horrifying people around the world.
In 2011, she won political asylum in the US where she had fled a year earlier.
She was given a prosthetic nose, but full plastic surgery had to be delayed because it was thought she was still not yet emotionally stable to cope with the painful and lengthy surgery required.
When Mohammadzai was 12, her father promised her in marriage to a Taliban fighter to pay a debt. She was handed over to his family who abused her and forced her to sleep in the stable with the animals.
The UN estimates that nearly 90 per cent of Afghanistan's women suffer from some sort of domestic abuse.
When she attempted to flee, she was caught and her nose and ears were hacked off by her husband as punishment. (ANI)