LAHORE - The Afghan diplomat in Peshawar was checked by the security people following extraordinary security situation arisen as a result of NDS spy ring catch in Balochistan, security agencies’ sources told The Nation yesterday.

Surveillance measures of Afghan missions have been stepped up after this major development to check possible NDS agents operating under diplomatic cover and ensure implementation of diplomatic protocols.

Security agencies last month caught a high-profile spy ring of six Afghan intelligence agents of National Directorate of Security (NDS) from Balochistan. The spy ring was being run by two serving major generals and one retired major general of the Afghan Army.

Afghanistan on Tuesday closed its consulate in Peshawar over alleged harassment of its diplomatic staff.

The security officials who checked the diplomatic vehicle of the Afghan diplomat in Peshawar said the van was not following the specified protocol when it was stopped at a security checkpoint in the cantonment area. Security services across the globe take extraordinary measures when hostile intelligence services launch offensive operations on their soil, which include checking and monitoring of the diplomatic staff, added the security agencies’ sources.

No high-headedness was displayed by the security men who checked the Afghan diplomat motorcade; they just followed the protocol exercised under extraordinary circumstances, said the security agencies’ sources.

Ex-diplomat Rustam Shah Mohmand who served in Kabul during difficult times, sharing his knowledge over the issue, said, “Though there are leverages for the diplomats under international conventions, the incident of the Afghan diplomat in Peshawar had taken place under different circumstances against the backdrop of NDS spy ring bust in Balochistan.” “Security agencies sometimes have to take some harsh steps, but it depends on the situation under which they have to take such measures,” he added. “However, the situation might not become difficult if the matter is handled with a little delicacy, but I don’t think the Afghan Consulate will remain closed for an indefinite time in Peshawar and the matter resolved soon,” said the former diplomat.

The operations of Afghan mission in Peshawar could not be closed for long because of daily-basis movements of Afghan nationals in Pakistan. “I and my colleagues had encountered only one serious incident in the Kabul embassy when it was attacked by an Afghan mob in July 2003. We were aggressively tailed by the Afghan security service, but never came close to direct confrontation with them because we followed the diplomatic protocol,” said Mohmand when asked to share some of his experiences at Kabul mission.

Some senior people should come forward for resolving any row between Islamabad and Kabul as mistrust sometimes can spark a major incident from a minor event, proposed the ex-diplomat.

In July 2003, an Afghan mob attacked Pakistan’s Kabul mission, ransacked the premises, shattered windows, broke doors and set the Pakistan flag on fire under the nose of Afghan security apparatus. High Commissioner Rustam Shah Mohmand said the Afghan government had failed to police its own capital. He further said, “He had demanded compensation, announcing the embassy would remain closed. Engineer Muhammad Arif Sarwari was the NDS chief when Kabul mission was attacked. He had prior indications regarding threats to the mission. Taking no appropriate measures to protect the Pakistani mission put a big question mark on Afghan security service record regarding good working relationship with Islamabad.