Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, taking notice of the abduction of the ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad, has recalled the envoy as well as the senior diplomatic staff back to their country. The Afghan foreign ministry confirmed the development. “The abduction of Afgh ambassador’s daughter & her subsequent torture has wounded the psyche of our nation. Our national psyche has been tortured,” Afghanistan’s Vice President Amrullah Saleh wrote in a tweet. The country’s foreign ministry has said that an Afghan delegation will come to Pakistan and examine the situation following which they will take ‘more steps’.
On Saturday, Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhel’s daughter was kidnapped and tortured in Islamabad before being released five hours later. According to reports, unidentified individuals abducted 26-year-old Silsila Alikhil from Blue Area in Islamabad. Five hours later, she was thrown on the road near Tehzeeb Bakery with her hands and feet tied. It’s no surprise really that the Afghan press is now busy blowing the Afghan foreign office’s official statement about the matter completely out of proportion and questioning the safety of foreign officials posted inside Pakistan.
However, today’s press conference of Pakistan’s interior minister have opened new chapter of thought regarding this incident. He said that the incident involving the daughter of the ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan “was not an abduction” at all. “This is an international conspiracy. An agenda of RAW. He was referring to the Indian intelligence agency. Reports of the ambassador’s daughter being “abducted” and “tortured” surfaced on Saturday, with a statement by the Afghan foreign ministry saying that the girl was “abducted for several hours” on Friday. The Foreign Office issued a statement in response saying that a thorough probe has been launched and law enforcement agencies “are trying to trace and apprehend the culprits to be brought to justice”.
Nothing can be said for sure until the final report from the investigation is out, of course, but it seems like a pretty safe bet that this was not just a random incident. Our intelligence agencies know for sure that certain outside forces are doing whatever they can to hurt Pak-Afghan relations, which have been on knife-edge for quite a while, at this particular historical juncture when the Americans have left and the Taliban are tightening the noose around Kabul. That makes it all the more important for the interior ministry to make sure that the prime minister’s orders are carried out in letter and spirit and this matter is kept from deteriorating any further.
These are, quite understandably, very tense times for the security establishment and the smallest spark could well light the fuse of the next regional conflict. Since both Pakistan and Afghanistan can do without another such confrontation, the latter’s foreign office has exercised restraint in its reaction and acted responsibly, which must be appreciated. This matter should come to a conclusion that is acceptable to all parties sooner rather than later.