‘2 Pakistani diplomats go missing in Afghanistan’
Two Pakistani diplomats based in a consulate office in eastern Afghanistan have gone missing en route to their home country, Islamabad says.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry made the announcement on Sunday and called on Afghan authorities to ensure the safety of the two officials, who had been traveling by road from the Jalalabad consulate in the eastern Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan at the time of their disappearance.
“Two officials of our Jalalabad Consulate General are missing since June 16 while commuting to Pakistan by road. The matter has been raised with the relevant Afghan authorities, who have informed that all efforts were in hand to probe the incident,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
“Pakistan has requested the Afghan Government that all efforts may be made to ensure early recovery of our officials and bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice,” it added. “We are in constant touch with the Afghan authorities.”
It was unclear if the two diplomats had been kidnapped, but the Pakistani reference to a “heinous crime” may be an indication that they have been abducted. Various Afghan militant groups have targeted diplomats in the past.
Pakistan and Afghanistan regularly accuse each other of sheltering hostile militants. Both sides, however, deny such an allegation.
The two sides also accuse one another of not doing enough to stop militants engaging in cross-border raids.
Afghanistan has been gripped by insecurity since the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror in 2001. Many parts of the country remain plagued by militancy despite the presence of foreign troops.
During the past 16 years, the Taliban militants have been conducting attacks across the country, killing and displacing civilians.
In addition, the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which is mainly active in Syria and Iraq, has recently managed to take recruits from Afghan Taliban defectors. Militants are now launching attacks on both Pakistani and Afghan soil.