Afghan envoy kidnapped in Pakistan

September 22nd, 2008 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Sep 22 (IANS) Afghanistan’s Consulate General to Pakistan, Abdul Khaliq Farahi, was kidnapped Monday evening by gunmen disguised as begggars who seized him in the country’s volatile tribal region after killing his driver, the police said.A spokesman for the Afghan embassy here confirmed the abduction, saying they were in touch with the police in Peshawar as well as other relevant authorities.

The Consulate General, who was recently designated as ambassador to Pakistan, was stopped by gunmen when he was going home from his office.

The police said the gunmen, dressed like beggars, stopped the vehicle on a bridge that connects Peshawar city with the posh Hayatabad area where Farahi lives.

They asked the ambassador to shift into their vehicle. When the driver and guard resisted, the kidnappers shot dead the driver.

A police official said Farahi’s guard was also kidnapped but a source in the Afghan embassy denied this. The embassy official refused to identify himself and blamed the Taliban and Al Qaeda for the daring abduction.

Farahi, scheduled to take over as ambassador in Islamabad next week, had been giving strong statements against the Taliban.

Last week, he told reporters that the Taliban in Pakistan were damaging Afghan interests because of which Afghanistan had to keep the NATO forces.

Farahi belong to Nangrahar province in Afghanistan, which is Pashtu speaking. He was appointed Consulate General in Peshawar soon after Hamid Karzai took over as president in 2002.

Presently he was staying alone in Pakistan while his family lived in the US.

The Pakistan foreign office strongly condemned the kidnapping. It said Pakistan was taking all necessary measures to ensure his safe and early release.

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