Afghan consulate official’s residence targeted in Peshawar

Peshawar (Pakistan): Armed militants opened fire on the residence of an Afghan consulate official in Peshawar’s posh University Town area early on Friday, local police officials said.

First Secretary of the Afghan Consulate, Humayun Yousafzai, who lives in the house, however,was unhurt, the police officials said.

“His name is Humayun Yousafzai, and he is the First Secretary in the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar.

He is an Afghan national. He has reported that at 2:20 am at night, some unknown people fired at his house. You can see the marks of firing. Whoever was firing, has fired at the main wall, and the main gate.

We have already given him two police guards, but when the attackers fired at the main gate where the guards live, the gate got locked. So it took the guards some time to come out.

In the meanwhile, the attackers fled,” Superintendent of Police (SP) of Peshawar Cantt, Kashif Zulfiqar, told Reuters TV.

He said he was not aware of any previous threats to the Afghan official, but in a restive city like Peshawar, no one was absolutely safe.

“It is too early to say whether it is a case of extortion or of threats. I don’t think there were any threats to him before this, but since this is Peshawar, there can be security issues to anyone. We will be able to say for sure after further investigation,” Zulfiqar said.

Barely 15 km (9.3 miles) east of the Khyber Pass, the key border city in northwest Pakistan was the major avenue for inserting foreign fighters and material support into eastern Afghanistan for the resistance against the Soviet Union.

At the end of 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Afghan refugees began arriving in large numbers, transforming Peshawar into an exile headquarters for Afghan resistance groups and a base of operations for Western aid and intelligence agencies.

Osama bin Laden and his associates were some of the visitors.

The present atmosphere of insecurity is directly related to the post 9/11 war on terror and the Pakistan army’s operations in the semi-autonomous tribal areas in pursuit of Taliban and al-Qaeda remnants.

Zulfiqar said initial investigation revealed that a sub-machine gun was used to fire at the house, and 29 bullet casings have been recovered from the site of the attack.

Portions of the outer wall, gate and outer verandah were damaged by the firing. However, no one was injured in the drive-by attack.

A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against unidentified individuals and investigation is under way.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

The shooting occurred two days after Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad came under a gun and bomb attack.

Afghan officials said all three attackers and at least seven members of the security forces died during the attack by the Islamic States, which hitherto had not struck high-profile Pakistani targets in Afghanistan.

All Pakistani staff at the consulate remained safe with only one worker suffering minor injuries from broken glass.

Delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States met this week to try to resurrect efforts to end nearly 15 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan, even as fighting with the Taliban intensifies. (ANI)