Kidnapped former Afghanistan governor freed in Pakistan shoot-out

Mr Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi was freed after a shoot-out with the police near Peshawar.
Mr Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi was freed after a shoot-out with the police near Peshawar.PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR (AFP) - A former Afghan governor kidnapped nearly two weeks ago in Pakistan's capital was freed on Friday (Feb 26) after a shoot-out with the police, he told AFP, saying he could not identify the men who abducted him.

Mr Sayed Fazlullah Wahidi said he was blindfolded and being transported by his kidnappers when they were stopped at a police checkpoint in Mardan, near Pakistan's north-western city of Peshawar.

Gunfire rang out, he said, and the three men holding him at the time ran away.

Speaking from the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, he said he did not know who snatched him from an upscale district in Islamabad on Feb 12.

"The kidnappers did not talk about their demands and they did not put me in contact with my family," the former Herat provincial governor told AFP.

Pakistan is in the grip of a homegrown Taliban insurgency but the tightly-guarded capital has a low crime rate, and the F-7/2 sector where Mr Wahidi was seized is a high-security area that houses politicians, bureaucrats and expats.

A senior local police official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity confirmed police had secured Mr Wahidi's release early on Friday, but said he could give no further details about the kidnappers' identity or whether a ransom was paid.

A senior diplomat in the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, Mr Muhammad Wali Sultani, also confirmed Wahidi was handed over to them early Friday.

Afghanistan had summoned Pakistan's ambassador to Kabul to its Foreign Ministry and expressed "serious concerns" over the kidnapping.

Kabul has fraught relations with Islamabad, which it blames for sponsoring Taleban militants fighting an ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan.

Mr Wahidi told AFP he plans to fly to Kabul later on Friday.