World Press Photo of the Year 2010 by Jodi Bieber shows Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, who fled back to her family home from her husband's house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi's brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the American military. After time in a women's refuge in Kabul, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery. Bibi Aisha now lives in the US. Image Credit: AP

Amsterdam: A South African photographer's portrait of an Afghan woman whose husband sliced off her nose and ears in a case of Taliban-administered justice won the World Press Photo award for 2010 Friday, one of photojournalism's most coveted prizes.

Jodi Bieber's posed picture, which contrasts the woman's arresting beauty against the results of the violence done to her after she fled an abusive marriage, was published on the cover of Time magazine Aug. 1.

Bieber is affiliated with the Institute for Artist Management/Goodman Gallery.

Jury members said the photo, though shocking, was chosen because it addresses violence against women with a dignified image.

The woman, 18-year-old Bibi Aisha, was rescued by the US military and now lives in America.

"This could become one of those pictures - and we have maybe just 10 in our lifetime - where if somebody says 'you know, that picture of a girl' - you know exactly what you're talkng about," said jury chairman David Burnett of Contact Press.

The picture also gains part of its resonance from its similarity with the iconic 1984 National Geographic photograph of a beautiful young Afghan woman with a piercing gaze.

The publication of the picture provoked international debate over the ethics of publishing - or not publishing - such a disturbing image.

"It's a terrific picture, a different picture, a frightening picture," said Juror Vince Aletti, an American freelance critic.

"It's so much about not just this particular woman, but the state of women in the world."