Saturday, June 15, 2024

U.S citizen missing in Afghanistan, family claims he is in Taliban custody

Immigration News

Khaama Press
Khaama Press
Khaama Press is a Kabul-based independent and non-political news organization established in 2010.

An Afghan-American national who had travelled to Afghanistan for working purpose has gone missing in Kabul for over 8 weeks now, a family member said.

Mahmood Shah Habibi, the former Afghan Aviation Authority Chief who had recently travelled to Afghanistan is missing since August 10, Ahmad Shah, Habibi’s brother told Khaama Press.

“He has been working as an advisor with a telecom company in Shash-Darak of Kabul for the last 3 years and he did not have any issues being in Afghanistan after the fall of the country in the hands of Taliban”, Ahmad Shah said.

He used to travel between Afghanistan and the United States in the last 12 months without any problem, but the last time he travelled in August was detained by the Taliban’s forces from his home in Shairpur, Habibi’s brother said.

“Not only Habibi, but 29 other employees of the same company were also arrested on the same day, many of whom were later released”, Ahmad Shah said.

We tried to reach out to the Taliban’s Ministry of Interior and also to the Intelligence Directorate to find out why he has been detained and when will he be released, but they did not provide us any answer, Ahmad Shah added.

According to Habibi’s brother, the incident has been reported to the U.S Department of State to seek the U.S government’s help for his release.

“The U.S Department of State has promised to get in touch with the Taliban and negotiate with them on Habibi’s release, but we have not received any further update from the U.S government yet”, Ahmad Shah said.

A U.S Department of State official speaking to Khaama Press confirmed that they are aware of US citizens being detained in Afghanistan and said they urge US citizens not travel to to Afghanistan as the risk of violence and kidnapping against the U.S citizens are high in Afghanistan.

The U.S government source communicating with Khaama Press did not provide further details on Habibi’s case saying they would not comment due to privacy considerations.

A close source to the Taliban’s administration who does not want to be named in Khaama Press report confirmed that on August 10, the Intelligence Department arrested Mahmood Shah Habibi, the Afghanistan’s former Aviation Authority Chief with several other employees of Asia Consultancy Group (ACG), an Afghan-American company that works in the telecom sector.

The case in the connection of which Mr. Habibi and his colleagues have been arrested is relatively very serious, the source told Khaama Press, but did not provide further details.

This comes as several other former Afghan officials who had returned back to Afghanistan following the statement published by the Taliban’s administration about the safe return of former officials and tribal leaders, many of those whom had returned have reportedly left the country again.

Salam Rahimi, Chief of Staff for the former Afghan President, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani returned to Kabul few months ago and was warmly welcomed by the Taliban’s Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi. A source close the the Taliban in the condition of anynomity told Khaama Press that Salam Rahimi had to flee again through Iran’s route after spending nearly two weeks in prison.

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