Afghanistan permanently closes embassy in India

New Delhi | Updated: 24 November, 2023 2:06 pm IST
Afghanistan's embassy in India ceases operations.

NEW DELHI: The embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi has declared the permanent shutdown of its operations. In an official announcement regarding the closure of its diplomatic mission in New Delhi, the Afghan embassy cited continuous challenges from the Indian government as the primary reason. The decision, effective from November 23, comes after the embassy previously suspended its operations on September 30. This initial suspension was undertaken with the expectation that the stance of the Indian government would evolve favourably to enable the resumption of normal mission activities.

The embassy acknowledged awareness that certain people might interpret this action as an internal conflict, purportedly involving diplomats who shifted their loyalty to the Taliban. They emphasised that, contrary to such interpretations, the decision is a consequence of broader shifts in policy and interests.

“To the Afghan citizens in India, the Embassy extends its sincere gratitude for their understanding and support throughout our mission’s tenure,” it added.

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Despite facing “constraints in resources and authority,” the Afghan embassy stated that it has diligently worked for the improvement of the situation, especially in the absence of a recognised government in Kabul.

In the statement, the embassy observed that over the preceding two years and three months, there has been a notable decrease in the Afghan community in India. Afghan refugees, students, and traders have departed the country, leading to almost a 50 per cent reduction in numbers since August 2021. Additionally, the issuance of new visas has been extremely limited during this timeframe.

“We assure the Afghan community that the mission operated with transparency, accountability, and a commitment to fair treatment based on the goodwill and interests of Afghanistan considering historic ties and bilateral relations with India,” it added.

“Unfortunately, efforts have been made to tarnish our image and hinder diplomatic efforts in order to justify the presence and work of Taliban-appointed and affiliated diplomats. In the face of these challenges, our committed team worked diligently in the most difficult circumstances, prioritising the interests of the 40 million Afghans in every possible sphere from securing humanitarian aid and online education scholarships to facilitating ease in trade and advocating for the formation of a broad-based government,” the Afghan embassy stated further in its statement.

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The statement further mentioned that the Afghan embassy has used its diplomatic influence to exert pressure on those who resist the aspirations of the Afghan people, specifically those who have not established an inclusive government and have deprived millions of girls of the opportunity to attend school.

Currently, there are no representatives from the Afghan Republic in India. The embassy conveyed in its statement that those who were stationed in the national capital have successfully relocated to other nations. It further stated that the only people currently in India are diplomats associated with the Taliban, actively participating in their routine online meetings.

“The diplomats of the Afghan Republic have handed over the mission solely to the Indian government. It now rests upon the Indian government to decide the fate of the mission, whether to maintain its closure or consider alternatives, including the possibility of handing it over to Taliban diplomats. The responsibility of diplomats appointed by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has officially come to an end. The unfortunate end of the Republic mission marks the conclusion of the Afghan Republic in India,” it added.

“We have considered the historic events and current circumstances carefully in arriving at this conclusion. We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to the people of India for their support and assistance to Afghanistan over the past 22 years. We reiterate our commitment to serving the people of Afghanistan and will continue to explore avenues to support our nation in these challenging times,” the statement concluded.

Significantly, the Afghan embassy declared the cessation of its activities on November 1, citing a “shortage of resources” and the “inability to safeguard Afghanistan’s interests” under the Taliban regime.

The embassy also issued a clear statement asserting that specific consulates, operating based on directives and funding from Kabul, do not align with the goals of a lawful or elected government. Instead, they serve the interests of an “illegitimate regime.”

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