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Afghanistan Embassy in India to Cease Operations: Diplomatic Shutdown Amidst Lack of Host Nation Support

Afghanistan Embassy in New Delhi Closes Doors: Challenges with Host Nation Support and Resource Shortages

01-10-2023 : The Afghanistan Embassy in India has made a significant and regrettable announcement, revealing its decision to cease operations in India effective October 1. This decision, as conveyed in an official statement by the Embassy, is attributed to a “lack of support from the host nation and a reduction in personnel and resources.”

Amidst circulating reports suggesting that the embassy suspended its activities following the departure of the ambassador and other senior diplomats to Europe and the United States, where they obtained asylum, the Embassy refuted these claims. The statement issued by the Afghanistan Embassy in New Delhi expressed regret over the decision and underscored the careful consideration given to the enduring historical ties and partnership between Afghanistan and India.

The embassy acknowledged its inability to fulfill its obligations effectively due to a dearth of support from the host government and the absence of a legitimate functioning government in Kabul. The statement noted that a shortage of personnel and resources had made it increasingly challenging to sustain operations. Insufficient support in vital areas, including the timely renewal of visas for diplomats, hindered routine duties, resulting in understandable frustration among the embassy’s team.

Regrettably, the statement disclosed the decision to close all embassy operations except for emergency consular services for Afghan citizens, pending the transfer of custodial authority to the host country.

The Afghanistan Embassy has been under the leadership of Ambassador Farid Mamundzay, who continued his role even after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. However, a power struggle emerged within the embassy following the Taliban’s ascendancy. In April-May, the Taliban appointed Qadir Shah as charge d’affaires, replacing Ambassador Mamundzay. Nevertheless, the embassy refused to acknowledge this appointment, rejecting the claims of an individual purporting to represent the Taliban’s interests.

It’s important to note that India has yet to recognize the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan and has not established a mission in Kabul. However, there is a technical team in place to coordinate humanitarian efforts. The Ministry of External Affairs of India had previously characterized the power struggle within the Afghanistan Embassy as an internal matter of the embassy.

The statement from the embassy vehemently refuted baseless claims regarding internal strife or diplomats seeking asylum in a third country amid the crisis. The embassy emphasized its unity and commitment to working for the best interests of Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the embassy expressed a desire to verify the authenticity of a prior communication with the Ministry of External Affairs regarding the intent to close the mission. The embassy urged the government of India to consider four specific requests outlined in an official note, including permitting the hoisting of the Afghan flag on its premises and facilitating the smooth transition of the mission’s assets to a legitimate government in Kabul in the future.

The embassy acknowledged that, given the gravity of its decision, there may be individuals receiving support and instructions from Kabul that differ from its current course of action. It made an unequivocal statement regarding the activities of certain consulates, asserting that such actions do not align with the objectives of a legitimate or elected government and instead serve the interests of an illegitimate regime.

Finally, the embassy expressed its eagerness to reach an agreement with the Indian government at the earliest opportunity, underscoring the complexity of the situation and the need for diplomatic engagement to address the evolving circumstances.