Afghanistan recalls all diplomats in Pakistan

Afghanistan said Sunday it has asked all diplomats in Pakistan to return to Kabul until Islamabad resolves “all security risks” they face and brings to justice those behind the brief abduction of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter last week.

This comes a day after the Afghan government said Silsila Alikhil, the daughter of the Afghan ambassador, was abducted by unknown assailants in the Pakistani capital on Friday afternoon for several hours and “tortured” before being released.

Islamabad said it launched a high-level investigation into the “disturbing incident” immediately after the Afghan embassy reported to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry that Alikhil “was attacked while riding in a rented vehicle.

A hospital medical report confirmed that Alikil was physically assaulted.

“An Afghan delegation will soon visit Pakistan to assess and follow up on the (kidnapping) case and all related issues; follow-up actions will follow based on the findings,” the Afghan Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which dealt a fresh blow to the fragile relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have been marred by suspicion and animosity.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it was “unfortunate and regrettable” that Kabul had recalled its diplomats in response. In a statement, the foreign ministry said it hoped the Afghan government would reconsider the decision.

“The reported kidnapping and attack on the ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad is being investigated and followed up at the highest level as directed by Prime Minister (Imran Khan),” the statement said.

Pakistani officials said security measures for the Afghan ambassador, his family and other Afghan diplomatic mission personnel have been further tightened.

Bilateral diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have deteriorated as U.S.-led foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan and Taliban insurgents step up attacks on Afghan government forces.

Kabul regularly accuses Islamabad of allowing the Taliban to use Pakistani soil to direct attacks on the Afghan side of the two countries’ long border.

Pakistan accuses Afghan authorities of harboring fugitive militants and allowing them to plan cross-border terrorist attacks