Abducted Afghan diplomat’s family urges speedy rescue efforts

November 10th, 2008 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Nov 10 (IANS) The relatives of Afghan diplomat Abdul Khaliq Farahi, who was abducted from Peshawar in September, have urged the governments in Pakistan and Afghanistan to speed up efforts for finding him.”My uncle was kidnapped on Sep 22 and so far no clue has been found,” said Khalid Farahi, nephew of kidnapped diplomat Farahi, who was designated as ambassador to Pakistan.

Farahi was serving as counsel general of the Afghan mission in Peshawar and was appointed ambassador to Pakistan in September. He was supposed to take charge in Islamabad by the month end, but was abducted Sep 22 while he was driving home from office with his driver, who was killed in a shootout that followed.

Khalid said that they been told by the governments in Pakistan and Afghanistan that a search operation has been launched in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan but “they have found no clue”.

He added that Farahi’s mobile phone has been switched off since he was kidnapped.

“We try to call on his cell number several times a day but it is continuously switched off,” Khalid said.

He said their family is very worried about his security.

“We have been contacted by both the governments but there is no solid word from any side,” Khalid told IANS, adding that he was not sure if the search operation is continuing or has been abandoned.

After Farahi’s abduction, three more Afghan nationals have been kidnapped from the Pakistani area including a brother of Afghanistan’s Finance Minister Anwarul Haq Ahedi.

Ahedi’s brother Ziaul Haq Ahedi, who was on a business trip to Pakistan, was kidnapped from Peshawar Oct 21 and is still missing. Head of Ariana University Abdul Haq Danishmand was also kidnapped last month while he was travelling to Peshawar from Jalalabad. Another Afghan official, Akhtar Jan Kohistani, is also missing since Nov 2 from Chitral.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin was abducted in February this year when he was going to Kabul from Islamabad. Tariq returned safe and sound after spending four months in captivity of the kidnappers, who are still not known.

Apart from the Khyber Agency factor, another common thing between the two incidents was that both the ambassadors were without proper security escort when they were picked up. Tariq Azizuddin was only accompanied by his driver and gunman when he was picked up on his way to Kabul through Khyber Agency. Similarly, Farahi was only accompanied by his driver when he was abducted Sep 22.

Farahi is the father of five, two sons and three daughters, all of whom are said to have settled in the US. Once a supporter of the Afghan ‘Mujahideen’ fighting against the erstwhile USSR, Farahi was a member of the Nifaz-e-Islam Forum in Afghanistan, led by Pir Sayed Ahmad Gillani. He later joined the Ittehad-e-Islami of Abdul Rabal Rassul Sayyaf.

Farahi belongs to an influential family of Afghanistan’s Farah province. One of his cousins, Ghulam Nabi Farahi, is member of the Afghan parliament while another, Abdul Razzaq Farahi, is holding a key position in the Afghan foreign ministry.

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