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Afghanistan recalls diplomats from Pakistan over ‘abduction’ of envoy’s daughter


Sun, 2021-07-18 20:30

KABUL, ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recalled the country’s ambassador and other diplomats from Pakistan on Sunday over the reported brief kidnapping of the ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul.

The development, coinciding with major Taliban advances and the resumption of Afghan peace talks, could further harm the already tense relations between the two neighbors, who have had uneasy historical ties.

The ministry on Saturday protested the abduction of Sisila Alikhil, 26, daughter of Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil, by unknown individuals on Friday. She was freed a few hours later.

“Following the abduction of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter in Pakistan, the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan called back Afghanistan’s ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan until all security threats are addressed, including the arrest and trial of the perpetrators of (this) abduction,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Silsila Alikhil was reportedly abducted in the middle of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, held for several hours and brutally attacked, officials in both countries said on Saturday.

A medical report compiled after she was taken to hospital by police said she suffered blows to her head, had rope marks on her wrists and legs and was badly beaten. She is also thought to have several broken bones, with further tests ordered to ascertain the extent of her injuries.

No details have been released so far about the abduction itself or the circumstances of her release.

“An Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan soon to assess and follow up on the case and all related issues; subsequent actions will follow based on the findings,” the ministry said.

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Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday the country’s government hoped Ghani would reconsider the decision to recall the Afghan diplomats.

“The security of the ambassador, his family and personnel of the embassy and consulates of Afghanistan in Pakistan has been further beefed up,” the ministry said. “The foreign secretary met the ambassador of Afghanistan today, highlighted all the steps taken by the government in this context, and reassured him of full cooperation. We hope that the government of Afghanistan (will) reconsider its decision.”

Torek Farhadi, an ex-adviser to former Afghan President Hamid Karzai told Arab News that close Afghanistan and Pakistan collaboration is of utmost importance at this time of peace talks with Taliban. “President Ghani could have waited a few days and take such a decision in consultation with Afghan Parliament,” he said.

“The affective aspect of what happened to Sisila Alikhil is of course totally understandable, but such a decision from the president seems too hasty,” Farhadi added.

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