India stands beside Afghanistan to ensure its ‘peaceful’ future, says MEA spokesperson
The reported abduction of daughter of the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan is a “shocking incident,” said an official of the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi reminded that India considered it fair to comment on the issue concerning two other countries as the authorities in Pakistan have dragged India into the incident.
“This is of course a shocking incident. This involves two other countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan, and usually we would not comment on it. However, since the Interior Minister of Pakistan has dragged India into it, I would only like to say that even by their standards, Pakistan’s denial of the victim’s account is stooping to a new low,” said Mr. Bagchi, referring to the July 16 incident in Islamabad.
Selsela Alikhil, 26, daughter of Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil, was abducted by unknown persons for nearly five hours who physically assaulted and left her near her home. The issue acquired a serious shape with a strong protest from the Foreign Ministry of Afghanistan. Pakistan has sent out mixed signals on the issue till now. Islamabad initially began an investigation but later, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid urged the victim to join investigation. Afghanistan has since withdrawn the envoy from Islamabad in protest.
Mr. Sheikh Rashid also denied that the incident did not amount to an attempt of abduction and accused India and Afghanistan of “distortion” of facts to defame and destabilise Pakistan.
The MEA spokesperson said India stood beside Afghanistan to ensure the “peaceful” future of the country which had witnessed a dramatic increase in territorial control by the Taliban in recent weeks as the U.S. forces were pulling out of the country after the post-9/11 two decades-long mission.
Mr. Bagchi’s comments came in response to reports that Afghanistan has sought military assistance from India. “As a contiguous neighbour, India supports the government and the people of Afghanistan in realising their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future where the interests of all sections of Afghan society, including women and minorities, are protected,” said Mr. Bagchi, laying out India’s position on the current situation in Kabul.
India has pulled out personnel from its mission in Kandahar, shutting down operations temporarily. It now operates all Indian visa related works in Afghanistan through the Indian Embassy in Kabul.