Pakistan again claims no evidence Afghan envoy’s daughter was abducted
Pakistan has reiterated its contention that there is no evidence the Afghan envoy’s daughter was abducted and assaulted in Islamabad, an incident that took ties between the two countries to a new low.
Selsela Alikhil, the 26-year-old daughter of Afghan ambassador Najibullah Alikhil, was abducted, held for almost five hours and assaulted by unidentified men in Islamabad on July 16. Two days later, the Afghan government recalled its envoy and senior diplomats from Islamabad and closed its embassy over security concerns.
When a delegation from Afghanistan visited Islamabad to conduct its own inquiries into the incident and to assess the safety of Afghan officials, the Pakistani side informed the team that “findings on the ground did not corroborate the report by” the envoy’s daughter.
The development comes at a time when Kabul has accused Islamabad of failing to prevent some 10,000 foreign fighters from groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) sneaking into Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban. Afghan leaders have also said Pakistan hasn’t done enough to push the Taliban to join negotiations to find a political settlement.
The Afghan delegation met officials from Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies and foreign ministry. The delegation was given a briefing on all aspects of the investigation conducted by Pakistani authorities and shown video footage from “various locations of different timings in which [the envoy’s daughter] was clearly identifiable moving around the places independently”, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement.
The Afghan delegation was also taken to all the sites visited by the envoy’s daughter and given a presentation of technical data such as mobile data.
“The delegation was conveyed that law enforcement agencies had carried out detailed and thorough investigation in the complaint and a comprehensive witness account led to the conclusion that the findings on the ground did not corroborate the report by the complainant. This was further substantiated by the technical evidence,” the statement said.
Pakistani authorities reiterated an earlier request for additional information and access to evidence and Selsela Alikhil. The Afghan delegation was informed about measures taken to enhance the security of the Afghan embassy in Islamabad and consulates in other cities.
“At this critical juncture in the Afghan peace process, it is extremely important to work jointly for the shared objective of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Pakistan hopes that the embassy of Afghanistan in Islamabad would soon resume its normal operations,” the statement said.
Afghanistan had also expressed deep concern over Pakistan interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s claims that there was no evidence the envoy’s daughter was abducted. Ahmed had also claimed the abduction was part of a conspiracy by India’s intelligence agencies. The Afghan side had said such remarks could lead to greater mistrust between the two countries.