South Asia

Kidnapped Afghan diplomat released in Pakistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Image caption President Karzai said Abdul Khaliq Farahi was in good condition and back home with his family

A senior Afghan diplomat kidnapped by militants in Pakistan two years ago has been released and is back in Afghanistan.

The office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he had met Abdul Khaliq Farahi in Kabul on Sunday.

Mr Farahi had been the nominated ambassador to Pakistan when he was kidnapped.

Pakistani officials have denied reports he was released in an operation by the Pakistani government.

A senior intelligence official in the eastern province of Khost, which borders Pakistan, told Reuters news agency Mr Farahi was handed over to the Afghan authorities there.

"Abdul Khaliq Farahi is in good condition and right now he is in Kabul with his family," Mr Karzai's office said.

Little-known group

The BBC correspondent in Kabul, Quentin Sommerville, says some Afghan officials say Mr Farahi will still take up the ambassador post.

He was being driven from the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, north-western Pakistan, to his home in the city when he was taken by armed men in September 2008. His driver was killed in the ambush.

It was reported erroneously shortly after that that Mr Farahi had been released.

The identity of his captors had remained a mystery until now. President Karzai said he was taken by a little-known armed group, Kutba Salahuddin.

The group is thought to have demanded the release of several prisoners in Pakistan in exchange for his release, but no demands were ever made public.

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