Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Family of missing Pakistan’s envoy shows worries | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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ISLAMABAD, (Reuters) – The family of Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul kidnapped by the Taliban in a tribal region three months ago expressed concern over the government’s failure to recover him and urged authorities to expedite their efforts.

Ambassador Tariq Azizuddin went missing in the Khyber tribal region on the Afghan border along with his driver and guard while traveling to Kabul on February 11.

Last month, Azizuddin appeared in a video on an Arabic television saying he was being held by the Taliban and urged the Pakistani government to meet their demands.

“We, the wife, children and grandchildren, brothers and sisters and our close family are deeply concerned and in a state of anguish that after a lapse of almost three months there are no signs of his and his companions early and safe recovery,” the statement released late on Saturday said.

“We appreciate that such a case would not be without its complexities, but what we’re unable to understand is why it’s taking so long with all the resources at the disposal of the authorities.”

The family also urged the kidnappers to release the envoy and his companions as early as possible.

In his video, Azizuddin did not say what demands the Taliban wre making but Pakistani media reports had reported they had called for the release of several jailed militants.

Government officials said the kidnappers have not communicated any demands to them.

Pakistan’s long tribal belt on the Afghan border is notorious for being a den for smugglers and bandits and has turned into a major sanctuary for al Qaeda and the Taliban militants who fled from Afghanistan after a U.S.-led invasion in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Scores of people have been abducted in the dangerous border region and the ambassador’s disappearence highlighted mounting lawlessness in the tribal areas.