Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Daughter of Afghan ambassador kidnapped and tortured in Pakistan

Hospital reports say she was admitted with swellings and rope marks on her wrists and ankles.

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The daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan was briefly kidnapped and tortured by unknown assailants, officials say.

Silsila Alikhil was abducted on her way home in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Friday and held for several hours.

Pakistani officials said she was assaulted by assailants who got into a car she was travelling in and beat her up.

Afghanistan’s foreign ministry said she was “severely tortured”.

The ambassador, Najib Alikhil, condemned the “inhuman attack”, and on Saturday the Afghan foreign ministry expressed its “deep concern” and said it was lodging a complaint over the incident.

“After being released from the kidnappers’ captivity, Alikhil is under medical care at the hospital,” the statement added, urging an investigation and protection for Afghan diplomats.

A medical examination report, shared on social media and confirmed by the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences state hospital where Alikhil was treated, said she was admitted with swellings and rope marks on her wrists and ankles.

The report gave her age as 26, and said she was held for more than five hours and also noted she had some swelling in the brain’s rear occipital region.

Amid widespread consternation over the case in both nations, Afghan authorities summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul to lodge a formal complaint.

In another statement on Sunday it said it was recalling the ambassador and other senior diplomats “until all the security threats are removed”.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted the culprits caught rapidly.

Relations between the two neighbours have long been strained and in recent weeks ties between the two countries have been deteriorating further amid rising violence in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government accuses Pakistan of providing safe haven for Taliban militants waging an insurgency across the country.

Taliban militants have made advances and seized a series of posts on the Pakistani border from Afghan forces.

The Taliban have moved swiftly as the US steps up the withdrawal of its forces from the country ahead of the Sept 11 deadline set by President Joe Biden.

Other allied countries have withdrawn nearly all military forces ahead of Biden’s deadline.

Pakistan, for its part, accuses Afghanistan of allowing militants to launch attacks from its soil.

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