Gun attack targets Pakistan’s top diplomat in Kabul


Gun attack targets Pakistan’s top diplomat in Kabul

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister has said that an “assassination attempt” on Friday targeted his country’s top diplomat in Afghanistan, amid tensions between the neighboring countries.

“I strongly condemn dastardly assassination attempt on Pakistan Head of Mission, Kabul,” Shahbaz Sharif said in a tweet.

Sharif added that the attackers failed to harm the Pakistani diplomat, but shot and wounded his security guard. There was no immediate confirmation on the security guard’s condition.

The shooting comes a day after Pakistan’s government demanded Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers prevent terrorist attacks coming from their soil. Pakistani Taliban, who are allied with their namesake’s across the border, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing earlier in the week in southwestern Pakistan that sent a wave of shock and anger across the nation.

The bombing killed four people and appeared to target police protecting polio workers in the area.

Pakistan blames the Afghan Taliban for not doing enough to control militants sheltering in their country who stage attacks across the border. The Taliban seized power last year in Kabul as the last U.S. and NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan.

A prominent politician and warlord, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, also escaped unhurt a separate attack in Kabul on Friday, his office said in a statement. Security guards killed the two attackers as they tried to enter a mosque where Hekmatyar and his supporters had gathered for Friday prayers, the statement said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for any of the attacks in Kabul and the Taliban government has yet to comment on the incidents.

Hekmatyar, who battled U.S. forces after the 2001 invasion and nursed a bitter rivalry with other Afghan factions, agreed to lay down arms in 2017 and join a peace deal with former President Ashraf Ghani.

Hekmatyar stayed in Kabul after the Taliban took power in last year, even as Ghani and other former leaders fled.

The former warlord battled the Soviets in the 1980s and then took part in the civil war that erupted after their withdrawal, clashing with the so-called Northern Alliance, before the Taliban first seized power in the late 1990s.

Credit: Gun attack targets Pakistan’s top diplomat in Kabul