Afghan investigators complete
probe, Pakistan denies kidnapping

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s law enforcement officials have informed an Afghan delegation probing the alleged kidnapping of the Afghan envoy’s daughter that the complainant’s claims were not supported by evidence, the Foreign Office said on Sunday night.

It follows a complaint lodged by Silsila Alikhil, the 26-year-old daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Najibullah Alikhil, who said she was abducted in the capital, Islamabad, on July 16 and held for several hours before being released.

Selsela Alikhil

“A comprehensive witness account led to the conclusion that the findings on the ground did not corroborate the report by the complainant,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. It added that Pakistani officials had “carried out a detailed and thorough investigation of the complaint.”

“The Afghan delegation was given a comprehensive briefing on all aspects of investigation conducted by the relevant Pakistani authorities in the reported incident,” it added.

Investigators were also taken to the Safe City Office in Islamabad, where they were shown video footage from various locations of different timings in which the complainant was clearly identifiable moving around the places independently.

“An on-site visit of all the locations visited by the complainant was arranged for the delegation, followed by a presentation of technical data (findings of mobile forensic/geo-fencing) as well,” the statement said.

Signed letter of Selsela Alikhil

The four-member team of Afghan investigators, who arrived in Islamabad on August 1 to probe the incident, concluded their visit on Sunday.

Najibullah had lodged a formal complaint about the kidnapping, following which Pakistan’s foreign ministry said security had been tightened for the ambassador and his family.

The incident led to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recalling Najibullah and other senior diplomats to Kabul “until all the security threats are removed,” according to a statement by the Afghan foreign ministry.

Pakistan termed the decision as “unfortunate and regrettable” and urged Kabul to reconsider the move, with its Foreign Office saying that the case was being investigated “at the highest level” on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Gul Chahat whose picture was misused on social media

“The decision by the Government of Afghanistan to recall its Ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan is unfortunate and regrettable,” the Foreign Office said, adding that it hoped for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Islamabad to resume operations soon.

“At this critical juncture in the Afghan peace process, it is extremely important to work jointly for the shared objective of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” the statement said.

Pakistan also informed the Afghan delegation on measures being taken to enhance security for Afghanistan’s embassy and its consulates, adding that it attaches “high importance to its relations with Afghanistan.”

Meeting with IG-police

The Afghan security team on Tuesday called on the Islamabad inspector-general of police (IGP) at the Foreign Office in connection with the probe into the alleged abduction of Afghan Ambassador Najib Alikhil’s daughter.

Reports surfaced that the ambassador’s daughter, Selsela Alikhil, had been “abducted and tortured. The Afghan foreign ministry had said that the girl was “abducted for several hours” in the federal capital last month after which Pakistani authorities launched a probe into the incident.

Afghan embassy in Islamabad

Islamabad Inspector General of Police (IGP) Qazi Jamilur Rehman briefed the Afghan delegation headed by DG Security and Border Affairs, Hassan Faizi, about the investigation report of the incident.

Sources privy to the development said the two officials of the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) were among the members of the delegation.

The Afghan security team will hold a meeting with the investigation team of the Islamabad Police on Wednesday, sources added.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had said that Pakistan had completed the investigation into the alleged abduction of the daughter of the former Afghan ambassador to Pakistan.

Demonstrators protesting in front of Pakistan Embassy in Kabul

Ahmed had said Pakistan would inform the Afghan team from Kabul about the investigation of the incident, adding, If the Afghan team wants it can also hold meetings with the taxi drivers in which the ambassador’s daughter had travelled.

A senior Pakistani intelligence source confirmed the arrival of the four-member investigation team. “An Afghan delegation arrived in Islamabad Sunday night for the investigation of the incident occurred with the daughter of the Afghan ambassador,” he said.

Members of the Afghan delegation, which consists of officials from the foreign ministry and security agencies, will start talks with Pakistani investigators on Monday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a TV program on Sunday he would personally follow the case, as if Alikhil were his “own daughter.”

Image of woman

The image of a Pakistani transgender TikTok star was shared widely on social media as the image of Afghan Ambassador’s daughter Silsila Alikhil who was kidnapped and tortured on July 16, 2021 in Islamabad while she was on her way home in a taxi. 

This image is being shared widely as Silsial Alikhil by some Social media users and some news websites. A Facebook page was shared this image along with the news of Ms. Alikhil’s kidnapping. The page says: “Daughter of Afghan ambassador who was kidnapped from Jinnah Super, Islamabad & thrown away after 6 hours of torture near Tehzeeb Bakery, Blue Area, Islamabad, badly tortured”. This post has shared 18 times with others. 

Afghan Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil

Some websites have also published the image of this battered woman as the daughter of Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad. Almost at 10 places on Google, the same picture is available creating an impression as daughter of Afghan envoy. The Nation inadvertently used this picture but immediately removed it and use the correct picture of Silsila Alikhil which was officially released by his father, the Afghan envoy.

The image using ‘Google Reverse Image’. It led us to the Facebook page of a Pakistani Tiktok star Gul Chahat who lives in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. She has posted the image of her injuries on July 16 on Facebook saying there is no one in Pakistani Government to bring us justice. 

Gul Chahat has asked for support in a series of live Facebook videos. She claimed that a person whose name was ‘Mirwais’ had assaulted her. 

Image by Afghan envoy

The Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad Najeebullah Alikhil has posted the original and real image of his daughter on his twitter account in Pashto. He says: “I was forced to post a photo of my daughter’s Silsila Alikhil here, because someone else’s photo was posted incorrectly on social media, even though I don’t know her at all”.

After Silsila Alikhil kidnapped in Pakistan, the Afghan Ministries of Foreign Affairs called back its Ambassador and some senior diplomats from the country. “Following the abduction of the Afghan Ambassador’s daughter in Pakistan, the Leadership of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan called back Afghanistan’s Ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan until all security threats are addressed including the arrest and trial of the perpetrators of abduction” said the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement. 

In conclusion, the image being shared widely as an injured Silsila Alikhil is actually of a Pakistani Tiktok star and Transgender activist Gul Chahat. However, the news of abduction of Ms. Silsila Alikhil, who is the daughter of Afghanistan’s envoy to Pakistan, is true and the Pakistani government is currently investigating the matter.

Protests in Kabul

Some protesters gathered in Kabul days after the incident to call on government to shut the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul immediately till the investigation and justice are maintained. In the meantime, Pakistan’s interior minister, Sheikh Rashid, has said that no evidence has been found to prove that Silsila Alikhil was abducted.