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Kidnapped Former Afghan Governor Freed in Shoot-out

by AFP and Staff Report
John MacDougall—AFP

John MacDougall—AFP

Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi, recovered in Mardan, says he is unable to identify his kidnappers.

A former Afghan governor kidnapped nearly two weeks ago in Islamabad was freed Friday after a shoot-out with police, he said, adding he could not identify the men who abducted him.

Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi said he was being transported by his kidnappers, blindfolded, when they were stopped at a police checkpoint in Mardan. Gunfire rang out, he said, and the three men holding him ran away.

Speaking from the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, he said he did not know who snatched him from Islamabad on Feb. 12. “The kidnappers did not talk about their demands and they did not put me in contact with my family,” said the former Herat provincial governor. He said they had treated him well, adding they had not tortured him and fed him regularly.

A senior local police official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity confirmed police had secured Wahidi’s release early Friday, but said he could give no further details about the kidnappers’ identity or whether a ransom was paid.

A senior diplomat in the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, Muhammad Wali Sultani, also confirmed Wahidi was handed over to them early Friday. “The former governor was handed over to the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar, where he thanked the Government of Pakistan for their efforts,” he told Newsweek.

Afghanistan had summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul to its foreign ministry and expressed “serious concerns” over the kidnapping. A statement from the Afghan foreign ministry Friday said it “appreciates” Pakistan’s efforts in freeing Wahidi, adding it “considers cooperation on such issues between both countries as necessary.”

Kabul has fraught relations with Islamabad, which it blames for sponsoring Taliban militants fighting an ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan. Wahidi told AFP he hopes to fly to Kabul later Friday.

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