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Torture by proxy: The Pakistani government must immediately charge or release Zain Afzal and Kashan Afzal, U.S. citizens of Pakistani origin who were abducted from their home in Karachi in August and have since been «disappeared,» allegedly by Pakistani intelligence agents, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch called on the U.S. government to clarify its involvement in the case and whether the two are being held at its behest in Pakistan or elsewhere. FBI agents in Chicago have contacted relatives of the brothers, while witnesses allege that Americans were present and in radio contact with the abductors.

Both are known to be Islamist sympathizers and have held membership of at least one militant group operating in Kashmir. Both received training at a camp run by Hizbul Mujahideen (HUM) at Mansehra in Punjab province during the 1990s. However, no evidence has been provided to suggest they have engaged in any criminal or terrorism-related activity, and neither has ever been convicted of any offense.