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Insurgents Enter Afghan Police Compound04/19 13:21

   KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- Insurgents armed with guns and explosives 
entered a police station in Afghanistan's southern city of Lashkar Gar on 
Sunday after a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the gate of the compound 
allowing the others to gain entry, a senior policeman said.

   Nabi Jan Malakhail, the police chief of Helmand province, said at least two 
insurgents were inside the police station, fighting with police who had the 
building surrounded.

   "They haven't been able to escape," he said. Two policemen and one civilian 
had been wounded in the firefight, he said.

   Helmand province is a stronghold of the Taliban, who have been fighting the 
Kabul government for more than a decade. The group controls much of the poppy 
crop that is grown in the province and is the source of most of the world's 
heroin.

   For more than two months, Afghan security forces have been fighting to 
dislodge the insurgents from Helmand, ahead of the warmer weather when the 
Taliban send seasoned fighters across the mountainous border from Pakistan for 
what it calls its "summer offensive." So far, the group has not declared the 
beginning of the fighting season, but recent attacks indicate that the annual 
offensive has begun.

   On Saturday, a suicide bomber on an explosives-laden motorbike blew himself 
up outside a bank in the eastern city of Jalalabad, killing at least 35 people 
and wounding around 125, authorities said. The attack bore the hallmarks of the 
Taliban, who have long been active in Nangarhar province, where Jalalabad is 
the capital. President Ashraf Ghani, however, attributed the attack to the 
Islamic State group, though he did not reveal the source of his information.

   A security official in the eastern province of Paktia said Sunday that at 
least a dozen Afghan mine clearers had been kidnapped by unknown gunmen.

   Gen. Zelmai Oryakhail, the provincial police chief, said the mine clearers 
had been working in the area for weeks without incident or difficulty. They did 
not want police or army protection, he said, preferring to have local villagers 
provide security.

   Also on Sunday, the United Nations said that Afghanistan's women were being 
failed by the country's justice system as most complaints of domestic violence 
were dealt with through mediation rather than prosecution.

   In a new report, it said that only 5 percent of surveyed domestic violence 
cases were resolved through the judicial system, resulting in criminal 
prosecution and punishment for perpetrators.

   The U.N.'s Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, 
said women often choose mediation to resolve complaints of violence, partly 
because they lack faith in the justice system.

   "The interviews with women and girls subjected to violence revealed that 
negative perceptions of the justice system as slow, corrupt and distant 
continued to discourage women from pursuing criminal prosecution of the 
perpetrators," Simonovic said. He added that access to justice for women who 
suffer violence needs to be improved.

   Afghanistan is regularly named as one of the worst places in the world to be 
a woman. Constitutional guarantees of equal rights and protection from violence 
are rarely applied in practice.


(KA)


 
 
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