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Kidnapped Afghan politician recovered from Mardan after shootout

PESHAWAR: A former Afghan governor kidnapped nearly two weeks ago in Islamabad was freed Friday after a shootout with police in Mardan, he told media, saying he could not identify the men who abducted him.

Wahidi, who served as governor of Afghanistan’s Kunar and Herat provinces, said he was blindfolded and being transported by his kidnappers when they were stopped at a police checkpoint in Mardan.

Gunfire rang out, he said, and the three men holding him at the time ran away.

Speaking from the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, he said he did not know who snatched him from an Islamabad neighbourhood on Feb 12.

“The kidnappers did not talk about their demands and they did not put me in contact with my family,” he told media.

He said they had treated him well, adding they had not tortured him and fed him regularly.

Wahidi said he plans to fly to Kabul later Friday.

Wahidi was taken to various places after his abduction, Afghan Consul General Dr Abdullah Waheed Pohan said.

The consul general said he received a call from Mardan police early Friday and was informed that Wahidi had been recovered in the area after an encounter.

Wahidi was taken to the Afghan consulate in Peshawar at 4am.

“He is fine physically but has been mentally disturbed,” Pohan said of the ex-governor.

A senior local police official who spoke to an international news gathering medium on condition of anonymity confirmed police had secured Wahidi’s release early Friday, but said he could give no further details about the kidnappers’ identity or whether a ransom was paid.

A senior diplomat in the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, Muhammad Wali Sultani, also confirmed Wahidi was handed over to them early Friday.

A statement from the Afghan foreign ministry Friday said it “appreciates” Pakistan’s efforts in freeing Wahidi, adding it “considers cooperation on such issues between both countries as necessary”.

Afghanistan’s foreign ministry had earlier summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to express “serious concerns” over Wahidi’s abduction and urged Islamabad to throw all its resources to find him.

Wahidi, 66, was living in Islamabad’s F-7/2 and was with his grandson near Rana Market when two vehicles, one a black double cabin with a blue revolving light and the other a white Toyota Corolla, stopped by him.

Three people got out of the cars and forced Wahid into the double cabin before driving off. The Kohsar police had registered a case against his kidnapping on his nephew’s complaint.

F-7/2 sector where Wahidi was seized is a high security area that houses politicians, bureaucrats and expats.

Investigators were clueless about the abductors and the reason behind the politician’s abduction, police said earlier.


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