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Kidnapped Afghan diplomat is recovered

Latest update : 2008-09-30

Afghanistan's top diplomat and ambassador designate to neighbour Pakistan has been "recovered" in Islamabad after being kidnapped in Peshawar last week. His driver was killed when the hostage-takers attacked the car.

Afghanistan’s top diplomat in Pakistan, ambassador-designate Abdul Khaliq Farahi, was “recovered” on Monday, a week after gunmen kidnapped him and killed his driver, Pakistani officials said.

“He has been recovered,” said an intelligence agency official who declined to be identified.

He declined to give details of how Farahi was freed.

A government official said Farahi, who was kidnapped in the northwestern city of Peshawar when gunmen ambushed his vehicle on Sept. 22, had been taken to the capital, Islamabad.

No group claimed responsibility for abducting Farahi and there were no reports of demands for his release although Islamist militants were suspected.

Farahi’s kidnapping compounded fears about deteriorating security in the nuclear-armed Pakistan.

He was abducted two days after a suicide truck bomber killed 55 people in an attack on a hotel in the heart of Islamabad.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, both important U.S. allies, have warmed since Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, took over as president.

Ties have been strained for years by Afghan complaints that Pakistan was not doing enough to stop Taliban militants operating out of sanctuaries in ethnic Pashtun lands on the Pakistani side of the border.

Zardari was elected president this month following the resignation of Pervez Musharraf in August and has stressed the need for rooting out militancy and preventing Pakistan being used as a base for attacks on other countries.

Pakistani security forces launched an offensive in the Bajaur region on the Afghan border in August. The area has long been seen as a base for al Qaeda and Taliban militants fighting Western forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Date created : 2008-09-29