Afghanistan calls back ambassador, senior diplomats from Pakistan after envoy's daughter's abduction

Published July 18, 2021
An Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan soon to assess and follow up on the case, the Afghan foreign ministry said. — File
An Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan soon to assess and follow up on the case, the Afghan foreign ministry said. — File

Afghanistan on Sunday called back its ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan after the brief “kidnapping” of the Afghan envoy’s daughter in Islamabad.

"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 abduction," the Afghan foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said an Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan soon to assess and follow up on the case and "all related issues", adding that "subsequent actions will follow based on the findings".

Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil’s daughter, Silsila, was abducted from Islamabad’s commercial hub by unidentified persons on Friday who also subjected her to torture.

She was returning home in the afternoon in a taxi after visiting a bakery in Islamabad's Blue Area when the driver picked up another man, who verbally abused and assaulted her. She was later dropped in an unconscious condition by the taxi driver on a roadside.

Her medical report confirmed that she had been physically assaulted.

Afghanistan's First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in a tweet said President Ashraf Ghani had issued instructions to recall the diplomats.

"The abduction of Afghan ambassador's daughter & her subsequent torture has wounded the psyche of our nation. Our national psyche has been tortured," he said.

The Foreign Office in a statement termed the Afghan government's decision to recall its ambassador and diplomats as "unfortunate and regrettable". ​ It said the reported abduction and assault of the envoy's daughter was being investigated and followed up "at the highest level" on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

"The security of the ambassador, his family and personnel of the Embassy and Consulates of Afghanistan in Pakistan has been further beefed up," it added.

The FO said the foreign secretary had met the Afghan ambassador today, highlighted all the steps taken by the government regarding the matter, and re-assured him of full cooperation.

"We hope that the Government of Afghanistan would reconsider its decision," it stated.

After the incident came to light, Prime Minister Imran had directed Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid to utilise all resources to apprehend the culprits involved in the kidnapping.

Earlier on Sunday, the interior minister told a press conference that the taxi drivers who drove the Afghan ambassador's daughter before her abduction had been interrogated and a first information report had been registered.

"I want to inform the international media that the police is investigating the report of the Afghan ambassador's daughter issue ... and we have registered a case on her request under [Sections] 34 (common intent), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the PPC (Pakistan Penal Code)," Rashid said.

He said the interviews of the trio of taxi drivers whose cars Silsila had sat in had been recorded. Rashid revealed that the first driver had driven the envoy's daughter to Khadda Market, a second had then driven her to Rawalpindi, and a third had driven her from Daman-i-Koh.

The minister said footage of her trip from Rawalpindi to Daman-i-Koh was missing and the matter was under investigation. He said the "riddle" would be solved by the evening and all aspects of the case would be unearthed.

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