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November 6, 2019

Islamabad-Kabul diplomatic tensions soar

Top Story

November 6, 2019

ISLAMABAD: During the past few days, Islamabad-Kabul diplomatic tensions have increased manifold, forcing the staff at Embassy in Kabul to limit their movement or stay on the embassy premises. Harassment of diplomats serving in Kabul has prompted Islamabad to halt its consular operations in Kabul until further notice.

Opinion: The principal contradiction

The latest diplomatic dispute between the neighbours erupted on Nov 3, when Pak diplomatic staff was "obstructed on the road and the embassy vehicles were also hit by motorcycles" in the Afghan capital. 

Pak foreign ministry said it had summoned the Afghan chargé d'affaires to convey Islamabad's concerns over the safety and security of Pakistani diplomats, demanding Kabul immediately probe the "security violations and harassment incidents." 

The Afghan foreign ministry, while responding to Pakistan's complaints on Nov 4, vowed to "seriously investigate" them. At the same time, however, it alleged the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad was "mistreated" by the Pakistani authorities. "Afghanistan expresses its deepest objection and concern over the summoning of the ambassador by an important department," the ministry said, levelling the allegation. It did not elaborate.

However, Pakistani government has rejected the accusations. The Pakistani Embassy in Kabul announced last week it had issued more than 450,000 visas to Afghan applicants in the last nine months at an average of 53,000 visas per month. "However, there is still a large unmet demand for Pakistani visas," the mission noted in a statement.

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