Security of Afghan embassy, consulate in Pakistan enhanced: FM Qureshi

FM hopes Afghan government will review its decision of calling back its ambassador and senior diplomats


News Desk July 19, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi telephoned his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar and discussed with him matters of mutual interest. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi informed his Afghan counterpart, Mohammad Haneef Atmar, on Monday that the security of the Afghan embassy and consulate in Pakistan had been further enhanced.

The development comes a day after the Afghanistan government decided to withdraw its ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan, a move that Islamabad termed as "unfortunate and regrettable".

The decision by Kabul to recall its ambassador in Islamabad and other diplomats came in reaction to the reported abduction of the envoy's daughter on July 16.

During the phone call with Atmar, Qureshi discussed matters of mutual interest and apprised Atmar of the actions taken so far by the law enforcement agencies in connection with the incident that occurred on July 16.

Read More: Kabul recalls envoy over ‘security threats’

He assured the Afghan foreign minister that Pakistan would take all possible steps to arrest the culprits and bring them to justice at the earliest

"Ministry of Foreign Affairs is fully aware of the diplomatic norms," the foreign minister said. "The security of the Afghan embassy and consulate in Pakistan has been further enhanced."

He further said that the Pakistan government hoped that the Afghan government would review its decision of calling back its ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan keeping in view the country's serious efforts for the peace process.

The Afghan diplomat thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for his personal interest in the investigation and also appreciated FM Qureshi's efforts for enhancing the security of the Afghan embassy and the consulate.

Selsela Alikhil, the daughter of Najibullah Alikhil, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, was allegedly kidnapped and held for several hours by unknown assailants who left her with injuries and rope marks.

Pakistan authorities are currently investigating the reported abduction with Prime Minister Imran Khan issuing special directions to the interior minister for finding and punishing the culprits.

The Afghan government has said it would send a security team to Islamabad for assessing the situation before sending the envoy and other diplomats to Islamabad. The latest diplomatic hiccup happened at a time when the relationship between the two neighbours is already facing multiple challenges.

The recent meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani did not go well either as the two sides failed to reduce the trust deficit. Pakistani plans to hold an Afghan Peace Conference also suffered a setback when the Afghan government refused to send its delegation.

With the latest row over the reported kidnapping of the ambassador’s daughter, the peace conference may not take place in Islamabad. Pakistan has been a key player in the Afghan endgame as it has facilitated and brokered Doha deal and intra-Afghan talks.

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