The 18-year-old, standing among a handful of women in a makeshift classroom, is attending her daily lessons at a women's shelter in Kabul. The shelter is one of more than a dozen around Afghanistan that provide refuge for abused Afghan women who have fled their homes.
Mumtaz's face lights up as she writes her name correctly on a chalkboard. But her smile quickly vanishes when asked about the events that led her to seek protection at the shelter, run by the Afghan nongovernmental organization Women4AfghanWomen, five months ago.
The shelter currently houses around 20 women, some with young children. Many, unable to return to their homes and families for fear of being killed, have been there for years because they have nowhere else to go.
Mumtaz says she was victimized by a scorned man who decided that if he could not marry her, he would make sure nobody else would want to. The middle-aged man, who reputedly had links to a local militia, had asked for her hand in marriage, but her father refused the request.
In response, Mumtaz says, the man, accompanied by six others, broke into her home in northern Kunduz Province, beat her father, and sprayed skin-burning acid over her mother and three sisters. Mumtaz says her one-time suitor pulled her hair back and emptied a bucket of acid over head and body before fleeing.
"They took me to a hospital in Kunduz, where I stayed for about 10 days. They wouldn't even look at me there," she says. "The women's group brought me to Kabul. I had one operation but then they discharged me, saying I wouldn't get better and would die. Finally, they sent me to India."
Against overwhelming odds, Mumtaz survived after receiving several life-saving medical procedures in New Delhi. Mumtaz's family members, too, survived, although their safety remains precarious as many of the men accused of involvement in the attack are still at large.
After months of rehabilitation at the shelter in Kabul, Mumtaz is in stable condition and is able to speak, move, and eat freely. Doctors are still closely monitoring her fragile psychological condition as Mumtaz battles trauma and depression.
Mumtaz says she is indebted to the shelter, which helped pay her expensive medical and travel expenses. She hails the efforts of women's shelters, many of them run by Afghan NGOs and funded by a mix of private donors, international organizations, and foreign governments.
Many, she says, continue to work despite routine death threats and assassination attempts by the Taliban, which often claims the shelters are brothels and a haven for drug use.
"The shelter has helped me a lot. If they hadn't helped me, I probably would have died," Mumtaz says. "I'm very happy here. They help me in every aspect, including food, clothes, and ensuring I have my own room. They do everything for us.
To many, Mumtaz's shocking ordeal highlights the fragile state of women's rights in Afghanistan, where domestic abuse is routine, forced marriages are the norm, and female suicide rates remain among the highest in the world despite gains made since the fall of the Talban in late 2001.
Now, as the United States and its NATO allies prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, fears are rising that what little progress women have made could be undone if the Taliban reenters the political scene.