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Daughter of Afghan envoy kidnapped, ‘tortured’ in Islamabad

Islamabad – The daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan was briefly kidnapped while on her way home in the capital Islamabad, the governments of both countries said yesterday.

Silsila Alikhil was abducted for several hours and “severely tortured by unknown individuals”, Afghanistan’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

“After being released from the kidnappers’ captivity Ms Alikhil is under medical care at hospital,” the statement said.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul was summoned to lodge a formal complaint, the ministry added.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said Najibullah Alikhil’s daughter was assaulted in her car, before the interior minister later published a statement saying she had been kidnapped.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to utilise all resources to apprehend the person involved in the kidnapping of the daughter of the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad,” Ahmed himself tweeted.

Islamabad is a leafy, spacious city with relatively tight security and a population of around 1 million people.

The security of the ambassador and his family has been tightened, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said, adding that the safety of the diplomatic missions were “of the utmost importance”.

Relations between the two neighbours have long been strained.

Kabul accuses Islamabad of offering a safe haven to Taliban militants who are waging a major campaign across the Afghan countryside.

While Islamabad says Kabul turns a blind eye to militant groups launching attacks on Pakistan from its soil.

As fighting raged, war of words heated up this week between the two neighbours, with Afghan vice-president accusing the Pakistani military of providing “close air support to Taliban in certain areas”.

Pakistan strongly denied the claim, with a foreign ministry statement saying the country “took necessary measures within its territory to safeguard our own troops and population”. — AFP

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