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Silsila Alikhil: Daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan briefly kidnapped by unknown assailants

Silsila Alikhil, the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, was “briefly abducted” and “severely tortured” by unknown assailants on Friday in Islamabad, said the Afghan government.

Ms Alikhil, 26, daughter of envoy Najibullah Alikhil, was on her way home when she was abducted, the Afghan foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that she is currently undergoing treatment. She was kidnapped on her way home in a rented vehicle, according to news agency Reuters.

Ms Alikhil was tortured by the unknown assailants for several hours and has swellings over several parts of her body, according to several other reports.

“After being released from the kidnappers’ captivity, Ms Alikhil is under medical care at the hospital,” the ministry spokesperson said.

Mr Alikhil has lodged a formal complaint over the kidnapping.

In the wake of her abduction and torture, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said security has been tightened for the ambassador and his family. After she was released, the Afghan envoy to Pakistan also condemned the attack on his daughter and said she was now feeling better.

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Mr Alikhil and other senior diplomats were called back to Kabul “until all the security threats are removed,” the Afghan foreign ministry said.

The ministry also strongly condemned the “heinous act” and said that it was deeply concerned “over the safety and security of diplomats, their families, and staff members of the Afghan political and consular missions in Pakistan.”

Pakistan’s interior minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Sunday dubbed the kidnapping to be an “international conspiracy.”

“There has been no kidnapping. I want to tell the entire nation, this is an international racket, an international conspiracy,” the minister was quoted as saying to Geo News.

“While the Afghan ministry of foreign affairs is following the matter with the ministry of foreign affairs of Pakistan, we urge the Pakistani government to identify and prosecute the perpetrators at the soonest time possible,” the ministry spokesperson added.

Mr Ahmed claimed to have footage of Ms Alikhil getting out of a taxi at a shopping mall in Rawalpindi city, adding that she took a third taxi to reach Daman-e-Koh, a tourist destination near neighbouring city Islamabad.

“The only gap (in the investigation) that we are facing is that how was she able to arrive at Daman-e-Koh from Rawalpindi,” he added.

Two days after Ms Alikhil was abducted, a large group of Afghans protested outside the Pakistan embassy in national capital Kabul, raising slogans against the Pakistani establishment for failing to protect the Afghan ambassador’s daughter.

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister advised its officials to treat the kidnapping incident as “top priority” and has urged law enforcement agencies to catch the culprits within 48 hours.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, was also summoned by the Afghan foreign ministry on Saturday afternoon, reports said. The ministry expressed strong protest against the “grave incident.”

This incident adds yet another layer to the already thorny issue of the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both countries have traded charges of allowing militants and insurgents to carry out activities in their soil.

While Afghanistan blames Pakistan for giving Taliban operatives a safe haven in their country, Pakistan accuses Afghanistan of allowing militants to use their land to carry out attacks on its soil.

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