Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul came under attack on Friday with Chargé d’Affaires (CdA) to Afghanistan Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani targeted, according to a press release from the Foreign Office (FO).
The FO said the embassy compound came under attack and while Nizamani remained safe, a security guard, Sepoy Israr Mohammad, was “critically injured” in the attack while protecting the mission head.
What happened today:
- Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul comes under attack
- PM Shehbaz condemns the incident and calls for investigation and action against culprits
- FO says Pakistan CdA was the target of attack and security guard critically injured
- Afghan foreign ministry assures investigation and punishment of perpetrators
- Kabul police spokesman says one suspect arrested
- FM Bilawal and President Alvi strongly condemn the attack
- FO summons Afghan CdA to convey Pakistan’s “deep concern”
- FM Bilawal receives call over incident from Afghan counterpart
The press release said Pakistan “strongly condemns” the assassination attempt against Nizamani and the attack on the embassy compound.
“The interim government of Afghanistan must immediately hold thorough investigations in this attack, apprehend the culprits, hold them to account, and take urgent measures to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani diplomatic personnel and citizens in Afghanistan,” the FO said.
Nizamani took charge as the mission head on November 4.
An embassy official told AFP that a lone attacker “came behind the cover of houses and started firing”.
“The ambassador and all the other staff are safe, but we are not going outside of the embassy building as a precaution,” he said.
Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said one suspect was arrested after security forces rushed to the embassy and stopped the ongoing firing.
He said details of the clearance operation would be shared later, adding that weapons were recovered.
The Afghan foreign ministry condemned the incident. Taliban foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi issued a statement saying that security institutions would “seriously investigate” the incident and identity the perpetrators to punish them.
The statement said that the Afghan government would not allow some “vested interest elements” to threaten the security of officials of diplomatic missions.
Pakistani officials condemn incident
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was the first Pakistani official to condemn the “dastardly assassination attempt”.
“Salute to the brave security guard, who took a bullet to save his life. Prayers for the swift recovery of a security guard.
“I demand immediate investigation and action against the perpetrators of this heinous act,” the prime minister tweeted.
He later tweeted that he spoke to the mission head and was relieved to hear that Nizamani was safe.
“I expressed the solidarity of government and people with him while assuring full support and assistance to him and his mission on all counts. I also conveyed prayers for the swift recovery of the brave security guard,” the prime minister said.
President Dr Arif Alvi said the attack was a “cause for concern” while condemning it.
“Pakistan condemns all forms and types of terrorism and is determined to eliminate it.
“Terrorism is a common threat, it requires joint efforts to fight it effectively,” he said.
“We condemn this in the strongest possible terms. The safety and security of our diplomats are of fundamental importance,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said.
“We salute the bravery of Sepoy Israr and pray for his swift recovery.”
Bilawal later said he received a call from his Afghan counterpart who reassured enhanced security for Pakistani diplomats and missions in Afghanistan and promised that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
The US embassy in Islamabad also condemned the attack.
FO summons Afghan CdA
Later in the day, the FO said that the Afghan CdA was summoned in the evening to convey “Pakistan’s deep concern and anguish” over the attack.
The FO said the Afghan CdA was conveyed that the security and protection of Pakistan’s diplomatic missions and personnel was the “responsibility of the Afghan interim government” and the incident was an “extremely serious security lapse”.
“It was underscored that perpetrators of this attack must be apprehended and brought to justice urgently, an investigation be launched into the serious breach of security of the embassy premises and that all necessary steps be taken to ensure the security of the diplomatic premises, officers and staff working in Pakistan’s mission in Kabul and consulates in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif.”
According to the press release, the Afghan CdA called the attack “highly unfortunate” and that it was perpetrated by the “common enemies of Pakistan and Afghanistan”.
“The attack has been condemned by the Afghan leadership in the strongest possible terms at the highest level.
“He also informed that the security of the Pakistani diplomatic missions had already been beefed up and assured that the Afghan authorities would leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice,” the press release reads.
Two militants killed in attack on Afghan politician’s HQ
Separately on Friday, three unidentified militants detonated a car bomb and tried to storm the headquarters of an Afghan party headed by veteran politician Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, officials said.
Ghairat Baheer, an official with the Hizb-i-Islami party, told AFP that two attackers were killed as they tried to enter the Kabul building — which also houses a mosque — and a third escaped.
“The car detonated outside, so there was little damage,” he said.
Officials said Hekmatyar — a wily politician who served as prime minister in the 1990s — was inside at the time, but was unhurt.
Obaidullah Muddabir, a senior district police officer, confirmed two attackers had been killed but said he believed the third had been captured.
“I am outside the compound … the situation is under control,” he said.
“The guards at Hizb-i-Islami office told us that there were three attackers. They killed two while one was injured before they reached the target.”
Hekmatyar is regarded as a political survivor in Afghanistan, having fought against the Soviet occupation, the Taliban’s first stint in power, and the Western-backed government that ruled until August last year.