Pakistan's Afghan envoy abducted

Tariq Azizuddin went missing in border district while travelling by road to Kabul.

    Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president speaking during a conference in Kabul, said: "The Pakistan ambassador to Afghanistan has been kidnapped while travelling to Afghanistan.
    "I hope he is safe and I hope he will be released soon."


    Official reaction


    Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said that the local government has threatened to send the military into the area if Azizuddin is not released.


    Muhammad Sadiq, a Pakistani foreign office spokesman, earlier said: "The search is on. We have nothing to share at the stage.


    Azizuddin was travelling through
    the Khyber province [File: AFP]

    "We don't know what happened, we have no idea. There is no confirmation he has been kidnapped."

    Local television reports said that their car was seen driving through a checkpoint without stopping.
    Azizuddin's last known contact was in Peshawar, the main city in northwest Pakistan, at 11am (0700GMT).
    There is no record of him reaching the Khyber checkpoint. He therefore is likely to have disappeared before reaching the district.
    The Khyber Pass links Pakistan and Afghanistan. The road between the two nations has been closed since the envoy went missing.
    Other cases
    If Azizuddin has been kidnapped, he will become the highest ranking official to have been abducted in the tribal region.
    Eight people from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) were also abducted on Tuesday in the northwest Dera Ismail Khan district.
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    Five of them were later released but two technicians and their driver remain missing.
    The employees, who were carrying out a geological survey, were abducted by masked men.
    The northwest mountainous area is known for criminal gangs who kidnap for ransom.
    Already this month two Red Cross workers went missing in the region. They have not been heard of since.
    Taliban commander held
    Also on Monday, Mansour Dadullah, a senior Afghan Taliban commander, was captured in Pakistan's southwest, close to the Afghan border.
    Four other fighters were caught in the battle in which Dadullah was injured.

    Dadullah was said to be attempting
    to enter Pakistan

    He has been behind attacks on Nato and US-led forces in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.
    Ahmed Zeidan, Al Jazeera's Islamabad bureau chief, reported Dadullah was seriously injured in the battle.
    One military official claimed that Dadullah had died of his wounds while being flown to a hospital with the other injured men.
    A military statement said Dadullah and his men were "trying to enter Pakistan" across the border.

    Conflicting claims

    Dadullah had succeeded his elder brother, Mullah Dadullah, a senior military commander who was killed in an Afghan and Nato operation in southern Afghanistan in May 2007.

    The Taliban said in a statement last December that they had dismissed Mansour Dadullah.
    The reason given was that he had "disobeyed orders of the Islamic Emirate" of the Taliban.
    But a spokesman for Mansour Dadullah denied that he was dismissed, leading to speculation of infighting among the movement.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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