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Afghanistan withdraws diplomats, plunging relations with Pakistan to an all-time low

On July 18 (Sunday) Afghans protested in front of the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul against the kidnapping of the daughter of Afghanistan Ambassador to Pakistan

Relations between Kabul and Islamabad have further  deteriorated significantly after the daughter of Afghanistan’s top envoy was kidnapped in the Pakistani capital last week. The Afghan Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday that Kabul was recalling all its diplomats from Pakistan due to “security threats.”

In a clear violation of international law, the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Najibullah Alikhil was briefly abducted and tortured before she was released. Demanding the kidnappers’ arrest and prosecution, the Afghan foreign ministry said in a statement: “Following the kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter in Pakistan, the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has recalled the Afghan envoy and other senior diplomats from Islamabad back to Kabul until all security threats have been removed.” According to Afghanistan’s foreign ministry, an Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan to investigate the situation, following which “further steps will be taken.”

Also Read: Afghan women MPs write protest letter to Pak women parliamentarians over diplomat's daughter kidnapping

The Pakistani foreign office called Afghanistan’s decision to virtually erase its  diplomatic footprint from Pakistan as “unfortunate and regrettable” while investigations are being carried out at the highest level on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Security has been tightened for the ambassador, his family and the staff of the Afghan consulate in Pakistan,” the foreign office said.

But what has been hurting Afghan pride most are the  statements coming from none other than the Interior Minister of Pakistan Sheikh Rashid. Rashid is not only  denying any Pakistani role in the  kidnapping incident, but pinning the blame for the incident on a fictitious "international racket" led by Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to defame Pakistan, as reported by the Pakistani daily Dawn.

Questioning the “kidnapping” theory, the Interior Minister, whose agencies are ironically still investigation the case, and therefore have no proof of any Indian involvement, have been narrating the story on the TV  channels that the Afghan ambassaodor’s daughter hired a taxi at Khadda Market.  “Then she heads to Daman-i-Koh in a second cab, and subsequently hires a third taxi from F-9 park, but she is refusing to accept that she visited Rawalpindi,” the daily quoted him.

Also Read: In message to Ghani, did Pakistan abduct and release daughter of Afghan Ambassador after torture?

 “There is just one patch left in our investigation. We have found three taxis involved in the incident. Everything will be clear the moment we discover the fourth footage.” Sheikh Rashid added that the ambassador’s daughter gave her mobile phone to authorities after erasing all records.

Pakistan is under tremendous pressure following the incident. Public anger is on the boil at the  way the Pakistani government and its ministers are trying to “shame” the victim. Afghanistan's women Parliamentarians wrote a letter to the Pakistani women parliamentarians to raise issues both in Parliament & National Media.

On Sunday, in a first, afghans protested in front of the embassy of Pakistan in Kabul.

“Afghans protest in front of Pakistan embassy in Kabul. Protesters say that torture and abduction of #SilsilaAliKhil the daughter of Afghan Diplomat in Pakistan is an insult to all Afghans. They demand justice for #SilselaAlikhilIsNotAlone @ImranKhanPTI ,” wrote protestors on their social media posts.

“The abduction of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter and the ensuing violence have damaged the psyche of our nation. We have been subjected to national psychological torture,” Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh said on Twitter.

There is strong sentiment against Pakistani rulers among Afghans.

“Where Taliban & other terrorists are safe, but Afghan diplomatic families are kidnapped.

Pakistan has crossed all boundaries of humanity in the fight against Afghanistan by abducting & torturing Afghan diplomats' families in safe zones of Islamabad.”

Even the Taliban has asked its benefactor Pakistan that the kidnapping of an Afghan girl in Pakistan is against humanity and an aggression.

“We urge the government of Pakistan to step up its efforts to arrest and punish the perpetrators so that such acts do not give rise to  hate between the two nations,” said the Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen.