Pakistan, Peshawar: A former Afghan governor, Wahidi, kidnapped nearly two weeks ago in Islamabad was freed Friday after a shootout with police in Mardan, he told AFP, saying he could not identify the men who abducted him. Wahidi, who served as governor of Afghanistan’s Kunar and Herat provinces, said he was blindfolded and being transported by his kidnappers when they were stopped at a police checkpoint in Mardan.
Gunfire rang out, he said, and the three men holding him at the time ran away. Speaking from the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, he said he did not know who snatched him from an Islamabad neighbourhood on February 12. He told, “The kidnappers did not talk about their demands and they did not put me in contact with my family”. Wahidi said he plans to fly to Kabul later Friday.
Wahidi was taken to various places after his abduction, Afghan Consul General Dr Abdullah Waheed Pohan said. The consul general said he received a call from Mardan police early Friday and was informed that Wahidi had been recovered in the area after an encounter. Wahidi was taken to the Afghan consulate in Peshawar at 4am. “He is fine physically but has been mentally disturbed,” Pohan said of the ex-governor.
A senior local police official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity confirmed police had secured Wahidi’s release early Friday, but said he could give no further details about the kidnappers’ identity or whether a ransom was paid. A senior diplomat in the Afghan consulate in Peshawar, Muhammad Wali Sultani, also confirmed Wahidi was handed over to them early Friday. Wahidi, 66, was living in Islamabad’s F-7/2 and was with his grandson near Rana Market when two vehicles, one a black double cabin with a blue revolving light and the other a white Toyota Corolla, stopped by him.