Wednesday 28th June, 2017
pakistani-diplomats-go-missing-in-eastern-afghanistan
ISLAMABAD - Security forces in eastern Afghanistan have launched search operations to try to locate two Pakistani diplomats who went missing while commuting to Pakistan by road Friday.

The diplomats were stationed at the consulate in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, officials said Sunday.

The provincial government spokesman, Attahullah Khogyani, when contacted by VOA confirmed the investigation is ongoing into the incident of suspected kidnapping, but reported no progress.

In Pakistan, a foreign ministry spokesman said the government is in close contact with Kabul for the safe and early recovery of its diplomatic staff.

"The Afghan authorities have informed that all efforts were in hand to probe the incident and three distinct investigating groups have been constituted to ensure safe recovery of the officials," Nafees Zakaria said.

He would not speculate who many be behind the disappearance but said Pakistan has urged the Afghan government to "bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice."

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

While Taliban insurgents are active in several districts of Nangarhar, loyalists of Syria-based Islamic State have also intensified extremist activities in parts of the province.

But criminal gangs also operate in the volatile Afghan border region, and local media have lately reported a spike in incidents of kidnapping for ransom.

The diplomats have gone missing at a time when relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have deteriorated over mutual allegations of sponsoring terrorist attacks on each other's soils.

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