22:17 GMT05 August 2021
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    Silsila Alikhil, the daughter of Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan, was kidnapped for several hours on 17 July while she was riding a rented vehicle in Islamabad. She is said to have been “tortured” and “assaulted” during her captivity. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is ensuring his investigators take this probe as a “top priority”.

    The Taliban* on Monday called on Pakistan to "punish the perpetrators" behind the kidnapping of Silsila Alikhil, the daughter of Afghanistan's Ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhil, after Kabul recalled its envoy to Islamabad to protest the incident.

    The Taliban's chief spokesperson Suhail Shaheen remarked that the abduction of the 26-year-old woman was “against humanity” and should be probed so that it doesn’t give rise to “hate” between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    ​Afghanistan on Sunday recalled its Ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan “until all security threats are addressed including the arrest and trial of the perpetrators of abduction”, an Afghan Foreign Ministry statement said.

    “An Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan soon to assess and follow up on the case and all related issues; subsequent actions will follow based on the findings,” it added.

    Islamabad has described Kabul’s decision to recall its diplomats as “unfortunate and regrettable”, as it called on Afghan authorities to reconsider the move.

    ​The diplomatic crisis between the two Asian neighbours comes against the backdrop of increasing hostilities between the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the Taliban, which has been vying to take control of the war-ravaged nation as the US forces continue to pull out from Afghanistan in the lead-up to the 31 August deadline.

    Delegations from the Afghan government and the Taliban met in Doha on Sunday in a bid to “expedite the peace efforts” and “continue with high-level talks”, a joint statement issued after the meeting said.

    During the consultations, both sides also agreed to protect “civilian infrastructure”, prevent civilian casualties and start a countrywide humanitarian aid programme.

    The Afghan government delegation was led by Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

    Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani also met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the international meeting "Central and South Asia: Regional Connection, Opportunities and Challenges" in Tashkent on Sunday. Both the leaders agreed to take steps to “stop bloodshed” in the region.

    “The Government of Afghanistan will welcome any effort by the Government of Pakistan to stop the bloodshed and ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan,” an Afghan Foreign Ministry readout on the meeting said.

    *The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia.


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