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Insurgents storm southern Afghan police station as gunmen kidnap at least 12 mine clearers

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KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Insurgents armed with guns and explosives attacked a police station Sunday in Afghanistan's southern city of Lashkar Gar, wounding two officers and a civilian as gunmen elsewhere kidnapped at least a dozen mine clearers, authorities said.

Nabi Jan Malakhail, the police chief of Helmand province, said at least two insurgents were inside the police station, fighting late Sunday with police who had the building surrounded. One suicide bomber had blown himself up outside the station to allow the others in, he said.

Helmand province is a stronghold of the Taliban, who have been fighting the Kabul government for more than a decade.

Meanwhile, gunmen kidnapped at least a dozen Afghan mine clearers in the eastern province of Paktia, said Gen. Zelmai Oryakhail, the provincial police chief. He said the clearers had been working without police or soldiers protecting them at their own request.

PHOTO: Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission Sima Samar, center, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, left, and Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom give a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 19, 2015. A U.N. report released Sunday said Afghanistan’s women are being failed by the country’s justice system as most complaints of domestic violence are dealt with by mediation rather than prosecution. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission Sima Samar, center, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, left, and Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom give a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 19, 2015. A U.N. report released Sunday said Afghanistan’s women are being failed by the country’s justice system as most complaints of domestic violence are dealt with by mediation rather than prosecution. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

No group immediately claimed either attack.

The attacks come a day after a suicide bomber in Jalalabad killed at least 35 people and wounded around 125. President Ashraf Ghani attributed the attack to the Islamic State group, without revealing the source of his information.

Also 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.

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PHOTO: Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission Sima Samar, center, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, left, and Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for Afghanistan Nicholas Haysom give a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 19, 2015. A U.N. report released Sunday said Afghanistan’s women are being failed by the country’s justice system as most complaints of domestic violence are dealt with by mediation rather than prosecution. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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