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Ambassador to Pakistan called back to his nation over ‘security threats’

After the kidnap of the Afghani ambassador’s daughter in Pakistan, Afghsnistan has called back its envoy over security issues.

While few details have been released about the incident, Afghanistan’s foreign ministry has said Silsila Alikhil was abducted for several hours on Friday by unknown individuals and “severely tortured”.

“Following the abduction of the daughter of Afghan ambassador in Pakistan, the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan have recalled the Afghan envoy and other senior diplomats from Islamabad back to Kabul until all the security threats are removed,” the ministry said in a statement Sunday, demanding the arrest and prosecution of the kidnappers.

Alikhil was on her way home in the Pakistani capital when she was kidnapped, the ministry had said Saturday. It said she was under medical care in hospital after being released.

Later, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said that she had been assaulted in her car, adding that the security of the ambassador and his family was subsequently tightened.

Islamabad — a spacious city with a population of around one million — has relatively tight security.

“The abduction of Afgh ambassador’s daughter & her subsequent torture has wounded the psyche of our nation. Our national psyche has been tortured,” Afghanistan’s Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Twitter.

An Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan to assess the situation, after which “more steps will be taken,” Afghanistan’s foreign ministry added.

– ‘Unfortunate and regrettable’ –

Afghanistan’s decision to recall its ambassador “is unfortunate and regrettable,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The abduction of the ambassador’s daughter “is being investigated and followed-up at the highest level.”

Pakistan’s foreign secretary met with the Afghan ambassador “and reassured him of full cooperation. We hope that the Government of Afghanistan would reconsider its decision”, the statement added.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been strained.

Kabul accuses Islamabad of offering safe haven to the Taliban militants 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.

In Doha, Qatar, where Afghan government and Taliban representatives are in talks aimed at reaching a political settlement to their conflict, Taliban spokesman Muhamad Naeem condemned the kidnapping.

“We strongly condemn and denounce it. And we call on the Government of Pakistan to accelerate its efforts to arrest and punish the perpetrators of this crime,” Naeem tweeted.

As fighting raged in Afghanistan this week, the war of words heated up, with Saleh 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”.

Tension between the two countries soared further after the Taliban this week captured the Spin Boldak border crossing with Pakistan.

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