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Afghan ambassador-designate kidnapped in Pakistan

September 22, 2008 17:15 IST

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Afghanistan's Ambassador-Designate to Pakistan Abdul Khaleq Farahi was on Monday kidnapped by unidentified gunmen, who ambushed his car and shot dead his driver, in the north-western city of Peshawar, the police said.

Gunmen stopped the car of Farahi, who was earlier the Afghan consul general in Peshawar, near his residence in the Hayatabad area on the outskirts of the city and opened fire killing his driver.

The three unidentified men then got into the car and drove away from the spot with Farahi, TV news channels quoted police as saying.

The kidnapping of the diplomat comes just two days after militants carried out deadliest attack in Pakistan bombing to ruins Islamabad's [Images] Marriott Hotel.

"Ambassador-Designate to Pakistan Abdul Khaliq Farahi was kidnapped on Monday," Majnoon Gulab, charge d'affaires in the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, told reporters.

Pakistan's interior ministry too confirmed the kidnapping of Farahi.

It was not immediately known where the gunmen had taken Farahi, who was posted in Peshawar as consul general in 2002.

No group claimed responsibility for the incident.

The Peshawar city and its outlying areas in the North West Frontier Province have been the scene of large-scale battles between Pakistani forces and the local Taliban [Images].

Farahi was recently named Afghanistan's Ambassador to Pakistan and was expected to take up his new assignment after the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramzan.

In recent weeks, Farahi had been shuttling between Islamabad and Peshawar. While in Peshawar, he usually travelled with a security detail. However, there were no guards with Farahi on Monday and he was travelling in a private vehicle.

Pakistan's interior ministry sounded an alert after the abduction and security was tightened in Peshawar and nearby tribal areas like the Khyber Agency.

In February, Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin was kidnapped by the Taliban in the Khyber Agency, which borders the Hayatabad area of Peshawar. Azizuddin was freed in May.

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