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Afghan embassy in India ends operations, alleging ‘lack of diplomatic support’

– Anwarulhaq Baig

New Delhi, October 1st, 2023: In a late night surprising development, the Afghan Embassy in India has announced to shut down its operations from October 1st, alleging lack of support from India, the failure to meet expectations in serving Afghanistan’s interests and a reduction in personnel and resources.

This move comes two years after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, overthrowing the Ashraf Ghani government. India has not recognized the Taliban government. However, it had given the Afghan embassy in New Delhi permission to operate under the ambassador and mission staff appointed by former President Ghani in 2021.

In an official statement, released on its X late Saturday night, the Afghan Embassy noted that the embassy had experienced a notable absence of crucial support from the host government, which had hindered their ability to carry out their duties effectively. The Embassy stated that certain consulates that work on the instruction and funding from Kabul were not in consonance with the objectives of a legitimate or elected government, but rather served the interests of an illegitimate regime.

According to the statement, the emergency consular services for Afghan citizens will remain operative till the transfer of the custodial authority of the embassy to India.

Earlier, on Friday, embassy officials told Reuters that the ambassador and other senior diplomats of the Afghan embassy left India for Europe, the US, and other countries, where they gained asylum.

These developments come after reports emerged in the media a few months ago about an internal power struggle or feud within the embassy, as the Taliban appointed another person to head the mission, replacing Mamundzay. But later in a statement in May this year, the embassy denied reports of change in its leadership.

In its latest statement too, the embassy dismissed all reports of internal strife or discord among its diplomatic staff or diplomats using the crisis to seek asylum in a third country as ‘baseless’. The embassy stated that ‘such rumors were unfounded and did not reflect the reality of the mission and we remained a united team working towards the best interests of Afghanistan’.

Speaking about the earlier communication with the MEA, the embassy clarified that it would like to verify the authenticity of an earlier communication with the Ministry of External Affairs regarding the intent to close the mission.

The embassy acknowledged that it requested the government of India to give serious consideration to the four requests outlined in the official note verbal submitted earlier. “Specifically, we emphasize the importance of permitting the hoisting of the Afghan flag over the properties of our premises, as well as facilitating the smooth transition of the mission’s buildings and assets to a legitimate government in Kabul in the future,” it added.

The embassy has expressed its hope and eagerness to reach an agreement with the Indian government at the earliest possible juncture.

So far, no reaction has come from both India and the Taliban governments.

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