Guess what? At a time when the relationship between Pakistan and Taliban government in Afghanistan have been going downhill due to border issues and terrorism-related concerns, an assassination attempt on a Pakistani diplomat is sure to heat things up a bit between the neighbours.
- Pakistan’s chief diplomat in Afghanistan had been targeted in an assassination attempt on December 2.
- Chargé d’affaires Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani had been targeted by armed gunmen when he was inside the embassy complex from a building nearby.
- The Pakistani diplomat escaped unhurt, but his security guard was hit in the chest by three bullets, sources added.
- A foreign ministry statement in Islamabad condemned what it called an attempted assassination of Nizamani.
- Pakistan also urged Taliban to immediately investigate the incident and arrest the culprits.
- Pakistan also called on Taliban authorities to take urgent measures to ensure the safety and security of its diplomatic mission, personnel and citizens in Afghanistan.
- Pakistan even called the Taliban chargé d’affaires to their foreign ministry late on Friday to convey its “deep concern and anguish” over the attack. It was underscored that “perpetrators of this attack must be apprehended and brought to justice urgently,” the statement said.
- No one has claimed responsibility for the attack as of now, however, Taliban Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said that Taliban condemned “the failed firing attack” at the Pakistan embassy.
- Balkhi added that they will not allow “any malicious actors” to pose a threat to the security of diplomatic missions in Kabul.
- A Taliban police spokesman in Kabul said one suspect had been arrested and two light weapons seized after security forces swept a nearby building “and prevented the continuation of gunfire.”
- Pakistan’s prime minister also condemned the “assassination attempt on Pakistan Head of Mission, Kabul”
Why it matters? Friday’s attack assumes significance because only a day ago Pakistan had urged Taliban to prevent terrorist attacks coming from their soil. Pakistani Taliban, who are allied with their namesake’s across the border, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing earlier in the week in southwestern Pakistan that sent a wave of shock and anger across the nation.
- It also comes just days after Pakistan’s deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar visited Kabul for bilateral meetings with Taliban leaders.
- Border tensions between the two nations have also been on the rise. Last month a gunman disguised as a Taliban guard shot dead a Pakistani security officer at the southwestern Chaman border crossing between the two countries. The incident prompted Pakistan to temporarily suspend all movement across the busy crossing.
Zoom out: Pakistan and the world at large does not formally recognize the Taliban government. Pakistan — along with China, Russia, Turkey, Qatar and several other countries — has, however, kept its embassy in Kabul open.