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Pakistani embassy staffers detained by Afghan intelligence


ISLAMABAD, MAY 18, (DNA) – Two Pakistani staffers were held in Kabul by Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) under undisclosed circumstances.

The staffers were held for hours by NDS and the incident serves another blow to the already cold relations between the two countries.

The embassy staffers, Hassan Khanzada and Syed Munir Shah were visiting a stationery shop in the market when NDS personnel abducted the staffers along with the embassy’s official vehicle, said sources.

Mr Khanzada was manhandled during the detention, said sources.

The embassy informed the Afghan foreign ministry and sought the release of the staffers. The Afghan foreign ministry after much delay admitted that the staffers were detained by the NDS.

After three hours of detention, Mr Khanzada and Mr Shah were finally released.

The incident occurred amidst efforts by the US-led coalition in Afghanistan to improve ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the backdrop of the border tensions between the two countries.

An Afghan delegation, led by their Director General Military Operations, visited the General Headquarters Rawalpindi last week whereby it was agreed that bilateral talks would be conducted in “an environment of mutual respect, trust, cordiality and cooperation”.

On Wednesday Afghan deputy head of mission Zardasht Shams was summoned to the Foreign Office over the detention of the embassy staffers.

“The Afghan deputy head of mission was summoned to the Foreign Office today to lodge Pakistan’s strong protest over the incident in which two diplomatic officials in Kabul were detained, reportedly by Afghan security agencies,” the FO said.

“It was emphasised that such incidents undermined the constructive engagement which the two countries envisaged for strengthening of bilateral ties,” it said.

The incident has raised security concerns for Pakistani diplomatic mission in Kabul.

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