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Pakistan embassy staffers in Kabul detained by Afghan spy agency

Afghanistan’s spy agency detained two staffers of the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, prompting a protest from Islamabad.

world Updated: May 18, 2017 13:36 IST
Afghanistan-Pakistan relations,Pakistan embassy staffers detained,National Directorate of Security
File photo of the Torkham crossing on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.(AFP)

Two staffers of Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul were detained for hours by Afghanistan’s intelligence officials, prompting a strong protest from Islamabad, a media report said on Thursday.

The two men were in a stationery shop at a market when they were picked up by the sleuths of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) and taken to one of their detention centres along with the embassy’s official vehicle.

The staffers were identified as Hassan Khanzada, visa assistant at the embassy, and Syed Munir Shah, staff driver, the Dawn reported.

Khanzada was manhandled during the detention, the report quoted a source as saying.

The Pakistan embassy approached the Afghan foreign ministry and sought immediate release of the two staffers.

Pakistan also summoned Afghanistan’s deputy head of mission in Islamabad, Zardasht Shams, on Wednesday to lodge a protest over the detention.

The Afghan foreign ministry, reportedly after a bit of dilly-dallying, conceded that the two men had been taken into custody by the NDS, the report said.

Khanzada and Shah were released after three hours, it said, adding it was unclear why they were detained.

The incident served another blow to already fraught ties between the two countries. It happened amid latest efforts by the US-led coalition in Afghanistan to mend fences between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

First Published: May 18, 2017 13:36 IST