Afghan Diplomat Kidnapped, Driver Killed in Pakistan

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Gunmen ambushed a car carrying a top Afghan diplomat in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing his driver and kidnapping the envoy, officials said.

Ambassador-designate Abdul Khaliq Farahi was heading from the Afghan mission toward his home in the city of Peshawar when gunmen stopped the vehicle, a spokesman for the consulate said.

The assailants killed the driver, Mohammed Khalid, and abducted the envoy, spokesman Mohammed Zahir Babri said.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sultan Baheen confirmed the incident, but had no details.

He said Farahi, the consul-general in Peshawar, was recently nominated to become Afghanistan's next ambassador to Pakistan but had not taken up the post.

The incident adds to the crisis gripping Pakistan, two days after a suicide truck bomber devastated the Marriott Hotel in the capital, killing at least 53 people.

Suspicion has fallen on Taliban and Al Qaeda militants nested in the northwest and who have claimed responsibility for a spate of recent suicide attacks.

Security is also deteriorating in Peshawar, the intrigue-filled regional capital.

On Aug. 26, the top U.S. diplomat in the city narrowly escaped an attempt on her life when two men with AK-47s jumped in front of her armored vehicle and sprayed it with bullets, police said.