ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Unidentified kidnappers bundled the deputy governor of Afghanistan’s northwestern province of Kunar into a car in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and took him away, police sources said on Sunday.
Mohammad Nabi Ahmadi had crossed over from Afghanistan into Pakistan with his brother and was walking down a road in the northwestern city of Peshawar when a car with tinted windows pulled up and overpowered the Afghan official, according to a Peshawar police source.
The police source said Ahmadi’s brother recounted the episode to Pakistani police, but did not disclose that his brother was a high-ranking Afghan provincial government official.
“It was afterwards we came to know from other sources that he was deputy governor of Kunar,” said the police official.
Abdul Ghani Musamem, the spokesman for the governor of Kunar, confirmed Ahmadi had gone missing in Peshawar on Friday and added that he had been on leave for medical treatment.
Wealthy Afghans frequently cross the border for medical treatment in Pakistan. Many Afghans live in Peshawar and it is also common for influential figures in Afghanistan to have business or family links in the Pashtun regions of Pakistan.
The Pakistani police source said the Afghan government had not told them about Ahmadi’s visit, adding that “otherwise we would have provided him with security”.
Another security official said police in Peshawar were working to find out if Ahmadi’s kidnapping was related to his work or a personal dispute.
The Afghan Taliban denied involvement in Ahmadi’s kidnapping.
“We heard that a deputy Afghan governor went missing in Pakistan but let me clarify that we don’t operate outside Afghanistan,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
“In Pakistan, our leadership has strictly forbidden our people from any sort of activities as this is not our policy.”
(Additional Reporting by Haji Mujtaba in MIRAN SHAH and James Mackenzie in Kabul; writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Nick Macfie)