Beijing, Jul 19 (PTI) China on Monday strongly condemned the abduction and assault of the daughter of Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhil by unknown persons in Islamabad and hoped that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.
Silsila Alikhil, the 26-year-old daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador, was abducted by unknown persons while riding a rented vehicle in Islamabad on Friday. She was tortured and assaulted by her kidnappers before being released several hours later, triggering a diplomatic crisis between the two neighbouring countries.
Following the incident, Afghanistan has recalled its diplomats from Pakistan. Islamabad also called back its ambassador to Kabul for 'consultations'.
'As for the daughter of the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan being kidnapped, we strongly condemn the act. China hopes that the victim can recover very soon and we hope that the perpetrators can be brought to justice,' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a media briefing here.
He also expressed hope that both Afghanistan and Pakistan can step up communication and create favourable conditions for a close cooperation to reopen the border between the two countries after Taliban claimed to have taken control of it amid reports of Islamabad’s tacit military support.
The increasing differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan government is causing anxiety in Beijing as it is trying to work out reconciliation between the two countries, amid Taliban’s advances after the US announced that its troops would withdraw before August 31.
Pakistan and Afghanistan often trade accusations, with Kabul claiming Islamabad is sending thousands of militants to fight in the war-torn country and providing safe haven for the Taliban. Pakistan, in turn, claims that Afghanistan harbours the anti-Pakistani group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan - the Pakistani Taliban - and also the secessionist Balochistan Liberation Army.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently asked the Afghan Taliban to make a “clean break” with all terrorist forces, especially the al-Qaeda backed Uyghur Muslim militant group East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) fighting for the independence of China’s volatile Xinjiang province.
Wang also praised the Afghanistan government, saying it has done good work for national unity, social stability and improvement of people's livelihood, which should be justly evaluated.
In his briefing on Monday, Zhao sought to make a distinction between the Pakistan Taliban and the Afghan Taliban. He said both the organisations are different.
'The Pakistani Taliban is a terrorist and is widely recognised (as such) by the Pakistani government and the international community. It has admitted to having been involved in a number of terrorist attacks, including the explosion at the Quetta hotel,' he said.
'The Afghan Taliban identify themselves as a political and military organisation and have openly declared that they will not allow any organisation or individual to use Afghan territory to threaten other countries. This year, it has maintained dialogue and contact with the Afghan government and the international community,” he said.
Asked whether China suspect the Pakistan Taliban behind the July 14 blast in which 13 people, including nine Chinese engineers, were killed in Dasu area of Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where a Chinese company is building a 4320-mw dam on the Indus river, he said investigation is still under progress.
About Foreign Minister Wang’s call for the Taliban to sever ties with terrorist groups, he said the Minister’s statement “made China’s position clear”.
'Terrorism is the public enemy of all mankind, and China is willing to strengthen anti-terrorism efforts of the international community so as to maintain global peace and tranquility,' he said. PTI KJV ZH AKJ ZH ZH