Pakistani embassy in Kabul attacked, one injured

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks during the COP27 climate summit in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt November 8, 2022. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
  • Attack was bid to assassinate head of mission -Islamabad
  • One arrested after shots fired at embassy from building - police
  • Taliban government condemns attack, promises investigation

KABUL, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Pakistan's embassy in Kabul came under attack on Friday with gunfire wounding a Pakistani security guard, officials said, in what Islamabad called an attempt to assassinate its head of mission, who was unhurt.

In a separate attack in the Afghan capital on Friday, one person was killed in a suicide bombing near the office of the Hezb-e-Islami party of ex-prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the embassy attack, which came just days after Pakistan's minister of state for foreign affairs led a team to Kabul to meet Taliban authorities to ease tensions along the border between the two countries.

A spokesperson for Kabul police said the embassy compound was targeted by gunfire from a nearby building. Police had arrested one suspect and recovered two firearms, the statement said.

Pakistan's Foreign Office said the attack had been aimed at the head of mission, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani. It said Nizamani was safe, but a Pakistani security guard, Sepoy Israr Mohammad, was critically wounded in the attack while protecting the ambassador.

Nizamani arrived in Kabul last month to take up the role at one of the few embassies that has remained operational throughout the period since the hardline Islamist Taliban seized power in August 2021 after foreign forces withdrew.

A spokesperson for Pakistan's foreign office said they had no plans to evacuate the embassy after the incident.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in a Twitter post, called the attack an "assassination attempt" while seeking an investigation and action against the perpetrators.

Pakistan's foreign office also said the Afghan charge d'affaires in Islambad had been called in over the "extremely serious lapse in security" and that he told them security had been "beefed up" at Pakistan's mission.

A spokesperson for the Taliban foreign ministry condemned the attack.

"(The) Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns the attempted shooting and failed attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul," spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said on Twitter, adding that Taliban security agencies would investigate.

The attack occurred at a time of heightened security concerns in areas bordering Afghanistan after the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) said on Monday it would no longer abide by a months-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government.

The Afghan Taliban have been facilitating peace talks between local militants and Pakistan authorities since late last year.

Reporting by Shivam Patel in New Delhi, Charlotte Greenfield in Kabul and Gibran Peshimam in Islamabad; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Mark Heinrich, Philippa Fletcher

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