According to the Afghan foreign ministry, Afghanistan is removing its diplomats from Pakistan after the reported kidnapping of the ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad. In a statement from the ministry, Silsila Alikhil, the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Najib Alikhil, was “abducted for many hours and brutally abused by unknown people on her way home” on Friday.
Afghanistan was forced to withdraw top diplomats, including the ambassador himself, after the move “wounded the psyche” of the country.
“Following the abduction of the Afghan Ambassador’s daughter in Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Leadership has ordered the withdrawal of Afghanistan’s Ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan until all security threats have been addressed, including the arrest and trial of the abductors,” the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
An Afghan team will also visit Pakistan to evaluate and follow up on the case “and any associated problems,” according to the statement. BBC news said Afghan foreign ministry summoned Pakistan’s envoy to register a protest over the event.
She was subsequently freed and is currently getting medical treatment in a hospital, and the investigation into the event is continuing.
In a statement released on Saturday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry seemed to corroborate the event, stating that Silsila had been “assaulted while riding a hired car” and that it was attempting to arrest suspects.
On Sunday night, though, Pakistan’s interior minister disputed the occurrence and voiced doubt about Silsila’s version of events.
Afghanistan had declared earlier on Sunday that it would remove Alikhil and all other senior diplomats stationed in Pakistan “until all threats are resolved,” said the foreign ministry.
The ministry also summoned Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul, to “express the Government of Afghanistan’s strong protest and profound worries to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Pakistan about this terrible event.”
Afghanistan demanded that Pakistan “take urgent measures” to identify and punish the culprits, as well as to safeguard Afghan diplomats’ safety “in line with international norms.”
In a statement released on Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry termed the diplomats’ departure “unfortunate and regretful,” adding that it hoped Afghanistan would rethink its decision.
The kidnapping and attack were “investigated and followed-up at the highest level on the orders of the Prime Minister,” according to the ministry, and security for the ambassador, his family, and other Afghan embassy employees had been “beefed up.” Pakistan’s foreign secretary met with Alikhil on Sunday to assure him of Pakistan’s “full assistance” in the issue.
However, at the end of Sunday, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid informed a local Afghan TV channel that it was “not at all an abduction,” but rather “an international conspiracy” fuelled by Indian intelligence, without giving any more specifics on the claim.
He also said during a news conference that an early inquiry revealed inconsistencies in Silsila’s testimony.
The reported incident occurs as Pakistan prepares to host an Afghan peace summit next week amid worries over the US military’s departure from Afghanistan.Abduction of the Ambassador’s Daughter
The peace summit was supposed to occur this weekend, between Saturday and Monday, but Pakistan’s foreign ministry said on Friday that it had been postponed until after Eid Al-Adha. Although no new dates have been published, the Islamic holiday will conclude on July 23.
Around three dozen people are scheduled to attend the meeting in Islamabad, including leaders of Afghan political groups. Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister, is scheduled to attend the summit.
“As the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan nears completion, we remain concerned about the evolving security situation in Afghanistan,” a Pakistani foreign ministry spokesperson said on Thursday, adding that Pakistan “remains committed” to assisting the Afghan peace process.Abduction of the Ambassador’s Daughter
Pakistan initiated an investigation into the event, but Afghanistan questioned the probe’s legitimacy when Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid claimed there was no proof of the kidnapping so far and termed it “an international conspiracy.”
As the US withdraws its troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban resurges, the event further strains ties between the two nations.