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Guard shot in assassination attempt at Pakistan’s Kabul embassy

AFP . Kabul
03 Dec 2022 10:19:02 | Update: 03 Dec 2022 10:23:09
Guard shot in assassination attempt at Pakistan’s Kabul embassy
File photo of Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan — AFP

A security guard was wounded Friday by shots fired at Pakistan’s embassy in the Afghan capital, in what Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called “an assassination attempt” on the head of the mission.

“I demand immediate investigation & action against perpetrators of this heinous act,” Sharif tweeted.

A Kabul police spokesman said one suspect had been arrested and two light weapons seized after security forces swept a nearby building “and prevented the continuation of gunfire”.

Although Pakistan does not officially recognise Afghanistan’s Taliban government, it kept its embassy open even as the hardline Islamists took over in August last year, and maintains a full diplomatic mission.

An embassy official told AFP a lone attacker “came behind the cover of houses and started firing”.

“The ambassador and all the other staff are safe, but we are not going outside of the embassy building as a precaution,” he said.

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s foreign ministry said they strongly condemned the “failed attack”.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will not allow any malicious actors to pose a threat to the security of diplomatic missions in Kabul,” it said in a statement.

“Security agencies will investigate this incident seriously. After identifying the perpetrators, they will be punished according to law.”

The attack comes just days after Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan’s minister of state for foreign affairs, visited Kabul for talks with the Taliban government.

Pakistan has complicated relations with the Taliban, with Islamabad long accused of supporting the Islamists even while backing the US-led invasion of Afghanistan that toppled them following the 9/11 attacks.

Pakistan is home to more than a million Afghan refugees, and the porous border they share is frequently the scene of clashes.

Last month a gunman shot dead a Pakistan security guard at the Chaman border crossing, leading to its closure for a week.

On Monday, Pakistan’s separate but home-grown Taliban -- whose leaders and fighters have long operated from Afghanistan -- said they were ending a shaky ceasefire with Islamabad.

Since returning to power in August last year, the Afghan Taliban have insisted they would not allow foreign militant groups to operate from home soil.