The Khyber Pass border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was closed to all traffic yesterday for the return of a Pakistani diplomat who was shot dead in Afghanistan by unknown gunmen.
Pakistan summoned the Afghan charge d‘affaires in Islamabad to protest against the killing of consular official Nayyar Iqbal Rana on Monday near his residence in the eastern city of Jalalabad, Pakistan’s foreign office said in a statement.
Two assailants riding a motorbike opened fire on Nayyar Iqbl Rana, 52, at a shop in Jalalabad, Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Zahid Nasrullah Khan said. “When he went to the hospital he was pronounced dead,” Khan said.
Nangarhar governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani confirmed the deadly attack.
“Police have launched an investigation into the incident. No arrests have been made so far,” Khogyani.
Pakistan condemned the assault in a statement issued by its foreign ministry that called on Afghanistan to take “urgent steps to apprehend the perpetrators”.
Rana was the assistant to the consul general in Jalalabad.
The foreign ministry statement said Rana had finished “his three year tenure in Jalalabad and was due to return to headquarters”.
Khan said he had “absolutely no idea” why Rana, a father of five, was targeted.
Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been going through a stormy period with tensions over the latest USstrategic plan for the region and disputes over the Torkham border crossing, which Pakistan has closed periodically.
“We received the body of late Nayyar Iqbal Rana in Torkham today,” a government official in Torkham who asked not to be identified told Reuters.
“The Pakistan-Afghanistan border was closed for all types of traffic.”
Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, condemned the killing in a message on Twitter and said he had conveyed his government’s sympathies to the ministry of foreign affairs in Islamabad.
The killing comes around a week after the deputy governor of Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan was kidnapped near the Pakistani city of Peshawar, although there was no immediate indication of any connection between the two.
Despite escalating violence across Afghanistan diplomats are rarely killed in the country where they are protected by very tight security.
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