Warlords gang-rape a woman in Badakhshan province of Afghanistan

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Saturday, December 2, 2006

A local commander and his 11 men are alleged to have gang-raped a 22-year-old woman in Shahre Buzurg district of the northeastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan on November 28.

The crime was reported to have been committed in the Shah Dasht village by a local warlord called Mujtaba who belongs to Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan led by Burhanuddin Rabbani (now member of the parliament).

Local villagers told journalists that they have complained a number of times about brutalities and lawlessness in their village by warlords but police and local officials took no action because these warlords were powerful and backed by Burhanuddin Rabbani, who himself is based in Badakhshan.

Qari Jehangir, husband of the victim, says the armed men raped his wife and when his 2 children were crying, one of the assailants urinated in their mouths. The victim was warned that she would be killed if she registered a complaint with authorities.

Brig. Sayed Habib Saeedkhili, the border police chief in Badakhshan confirmed the crime and told to the media that commander Mujtaba and his men are famous drug traffickers who succeeded to flee but his brother, Anayat, has been arrested.

According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the director of the Women Affairs Department of Badakhshan, Zofanoon Natiq was not aware of the incident. She told the news agency that said no such incident had occurred in Badakhshan before.

The head of the Independent Human Rights Commission at northeast zone, speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News, said, "This is a crime, and will also stimulate anger of the people." He added that weakness of the local authorities was the main reason such cases recurred.

Crimes against women are on the rise across Afghanistan but especially in Badakhshan province, which is the stronghold of Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan -- despite the Canadian-led occupying force. Tha Jamait has its armed militia and holds key government posts in the area.

In April 2005, Amina, a 29 year-old woman was publicly stoned to death on the basis of a district court's decision in this province.

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