September 22, 2008 / 9:32 AM / 9 years ago

Afghan diplomat abducted in Pakistan and driver shot

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Gunmen kidnapped Afghanistan’s top diplomat in Pakistan on Monday after shooting dead his driver in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, police said.

Abdul Khaliq Farahi is Afghanistan’s ambassador designate to Pakistan, but is still serving as consul-general in Peshawar, a post he has held since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

“The consul-general was travelling with his driver when some masked gunmen intercepted his vehicle and took him away after killing his driver,” Noor Mohammad Takal, second secretary at the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, told Reuters.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry condemned the kidnapping and murder, and gave assurance that all steps were being taken for the diplomat’s “safe and early recovery”.

“We have started checking vehicles at various points in the area,” Peshawar’s police chief, Malik Naveed Khan, said.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Pakistan’s charge d‘affaires in Kabul to urge the Pakistan government to do its utmost to secure his release.

Security in the capital of North West Frontier Province has deteriorated alarmingly in the past year.

The military launched an operation in outlying areas of Peshawar in June in response to fears that some Taliban or criminal gangs were becoming bolder inside the city.

Gunmen fired on a U.S. diplomat’s car in Peshawar in late August, but she escaped unhurt after her driver took evasive action.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan was kidnapped in February while being driven through the nearby Khyber tribal region to Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, on his way back to Kabul. The envoy was released by Pakistani Taliban in May.

Additional reporting by Faris Ali, Saad Khan and Augustine Anthony; Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Paul Tait

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