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Afghanistan recalls ambassador, top diplomats from Pakistan in wake of envoy’s daughter kidnapping and torture

“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 brief statement on Sunday.

An Afghan delegation will be sent to Pakistan to monitor the investigation of the kidnapping, the ministry said, without specifying the day when the delegation will arrive in the neighboring country. Any further actions would be based on the findings of this group, it added.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry called the decision “unfortunate and regrettable.” It also said that “security of the ambassador, his family and personnel of the Embassy and Consulates of Afghanistan in Pakistan has been further beefed up.” The Pakistani foreign secretary met with the ambassador before his leave and assured him that Islamabad would fully cooperate with Kabul in this case.

Silsila Alikhil, the daughter of the Afghan envoy to Islamabad, Najib Alikhil, was abducted on Friday as she was returning to her home in the Pakistani capital. She was coming back in a taxi after visiting a bakery when the driver picked up another man, who then verbally abused and assaulted her, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported.

The unknown assailants allegedly held her captive for several hours and tortured her. She was then found with injuries and rope marks on her body and was taken to a hospital.

“The abduction of [the] Afghan ambassador’s daughter & her subsequent torture has wounded the psyche of our nation. Our national psyche has been tortured,” Afghanistan’s Vice President Amrullah Salen said in a Twitter post on Sunday.

Islamabad said that the case is under investigation. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan designated the probe into the kidnapping as a top priority issue and demanded the perpetrators be found within 48 hours, Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said on Saturday.

Relations between the two neighbors have long been rather tense. Kabul previously accused Islamabad of providing safe havens to the Taliban while Pakistan accused Afghanistan of harboring some other militant groups that launched attacks on Pakistani territory.

Islamabad was commended for helping to bring the Taliban militants to the negotiating table in Qatar last year when Afghan peace talks began. Yet, those negotiations have yielded no substantive results so far. The Taliban has massively ramped up its offensive in Afghanistan and captured significant swathes of territory in the country’s north amid the US pullout that is scheduled to be finished by September 11.

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