Middle East/North Africa

Afghan ambassador, diplomats withdrawn from Islamabad

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The Afghan foreign ministry announced on Sunday that it pulled its ambassador and diplomats from Islamabad after the ambassador’s daughter was kidnapped.

Reuters reported that unidentified assailants on Friday captured and detained Silsila Alikhil, the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan Najib Alikhil, for several hours. She reportedly sustained injuries after being “severely tortured,” according to Afghanistan’s foreign ministry.

Pakistani authorities are now investigating the incident.

“The Afghan government recalled the ambassador and senior diplomats to Kabul until the complete elimination of the security threats, including the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, according to Reuters.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the withdrawal of Afghanistan’s ambassador “unfortunate and regrettable,” according to a tweet from Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan.

“The reported abduction and assault of Ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad is being investigated and followed-up at the highest level on the instructions of the Prime Minister,” Khan added.

He also said that security for the ambassador, his family and personnel at the Afghani Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan has been “further beefed up.”

“The Foreign Secretary met Ambassador of Afghanistan today, highlighted all steps taken by the Government in this context, and re-assured him of full cooperation. We hope that the Government of Afghanistan would reconsider its decision,” Khan added.

Pakistan’s interior minister said on Saturday that Prime Minister Imran Khan made the kidnapping a top priority, and wants the offenders to be seized within 48 hours, according to Reuters.

The incident in Pakistan comes as the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan reaches its final stages, with the mission set to conclude next month. Pakistan is a key factor in the peace process in Afghanistan, according to Reuters.

Pakistan has reportedly been credited with helping bring the Taliban to negotiating peace talks that started in Qatar last year. Those discussions, however, failed to make meaningful progress as the Taliban has increased its misconduct, according to Reuters.

President Biden in April announced that all troops in Afghanistan would be withdrawn by Sept. 11, the 20-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks that led to the longest war in American history.

Earlier this month, however, he moved up that timeline, confirming that the military mission would end on Aug. 31, despite growing concerns regarding the fate of the Afghani government after U.S. forces leave the territory.

The Taliban has made gains in the region, leaving questions about the long-term stability of Afghanistan’s government.

Tags Afghanistan conflict Afghanistan–Pakistan relations Joe Biden War in Afghanistan

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