Abdul Rauf
The nine-year-old Abdul Rauf is in captivity of a gang that kidnapped him in early September last year.

Calls rise for release of Abdul Rauf

In early September 2020, a group of a gang in military uniform abducted the nine-year-old Abdul Rauf while he was on his way to school in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital city of the northern Balkh province. Later the kidnappers asked the family of Abdul Rauf for a 1.5 million USD ransom.

Following the abduction, the family of the victim along with a number of civil society activists protested in front of the office of the governor in Mazar-e-Sharif to bring the abduction of the nine-year-old child to notice of security officials but in vain.

Some right groups also called for the immediate release of the nine-year-old child after a video released by his family, pleading the government authorities to take action and release Rauf.

Earlier this week, the gang of abductors released a photograph that shows the desperate Abdul Rauf in a chain. Rauf’s family told journalists that they have received a sound record that shows Abdul Rauf being tortured by the gang.

Hundreds of people have launched #ReleaseAbdulRaouf campaign on social media. They are asking for the immediate and unconditional release of Abdul Rauf.

On January 16, President Ghani warned that he would fire top local security officials if they failed to find and release the abducted child. More than two months have passed since Ghani announced the warring yet the nine-year-old child is in captivity of the gang.

On March 14, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, announced that NDS operatives learned about the whereabouts of Abdul Rauf and they arrested 55 members of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) terrorist group in their operation to release the abductee. Those who are behind the abduction case are part of a larger terrorist network that was involved in high-profile attacks including the one on Kabul University, according to the NDS.

On February 20, Ahmad Zia Saraj, the NDS chief, told journalists that NDS forces conducted 29 operations to free the nine-year-old abductee but none were successful.

The father of the victim says that he has received an audio message from the abductors who warn him that will kill his son if he does not pay the ransom. He blames the government for not doing enough to bring his son back home.