Afghan embassy in New Delhi to cease operations on Oct 1
Like all other countries, India too hasn’t recognised the Taliban setup and has instead pushed for the formation of an inclusive government in Kabul.
The Afghan embassy in New Delhi will cease operations from October 1 because of a significant reduction in personnel and resources and a lack of support from the Indian government, diplomats appointed by the previous Afghan government announced on Sunday.
The diplomats earlier informed the external affairs ministry of their plans to shutter the embassy through a note verbale, or unsigned diplomatic correspondence, sent on September 25. In a statement issued on Saturday, the diplomats acknowledged shortcomings in serving the interests of Afghanistan and its citizens due to the “absence of a legitimate functioning government in Kabul”.
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Referring to announcements by the Afghan consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad to continue their operations, the statement said any actions taken by these missions “are not in consonance with the objectives of a legitimate or elected government and rather serve the interests of an illegitimate regime”.
While the consuls general in Mumbai and Hyderabad were appointed by the Ashraf Ghani government that was ousted by the Taliban in mid-2021, reports have emerged – including posts on X by a Taliban spokesperson – that they have both been working with the regime in Kabul for several months.
There was no immediate response from Indian officials to the development. People familiar with the matter on the Indian side earlier said on condition of anonymity that there has been a steady departure of Afghan diplomats to third countries as well as reports of infighting among embassy personnel.
“The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New Delhi regrets to announce the decision to cease its operations, effective October 1, 2023,” the statement said. “This decision, while deeply regrettable, is made after careful consideration, taking into account the historic ties and long-standing partnership between Afghanistan and India.”
The statement listed the primary reasons for the closure of the mission, including lack of support from the host government that has hindered its ability to carry out its duties, failure to meet expectations and requirements to serve the best interests of Afghanistan and its citizens in the “absence of a legitimate functioning government in Kabul”, and a reduction in personnel and resources.
Only two Afghan diplomats appointed by the previous government are currently in New Delhi – acting ambassador Mosa Naimi and Sadeq Ullah Sahar. Naimi’s visa hasn’t been renewed since May and both diplomats plan to leave the country soon, people said.
The statement said all operations of the Afghan embassy will be closed, “with the exception of emergency consular services to Afghan citizens till the transfer of the custodial authority of the mission to the host country”.
It added: “In accordance with Article 45 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), all property and facilities of the embassy will be transferred to the custodial authority of the host country.”
The statement also refuted “baseless claims regarding internal strife or discord amongst our diplomatic staff or any diplomats using the crisis to seek asylum in a third country”.
The statement reiterated requests made in the note verbale of September 25 regarding the “hoisting of the Afghan flag over the properties of our premises” and “facilitating the smooth transition of the mission’s buildings and assets to a legitimate government in Kabul in the future”.
In an apparent reference to the Afghan consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad, the statement said that “there may be some who receive support and instructions from Kabul that may differ from our current course of action”. It further said: “It is our firm belief that any actions taken by these consulates are not in consonance with the objectives of a legitimate or elected government and rather serve the interests of an illegitimate regime.”
The statement added: “Such activities, conducted independently, are contrary to the established norms of diplomatic representation.”
The Afghan ambassador and diplomats extended their “heartfelt gratitude to the people of India for their support and to the government of India for their assistance to Afghanistan over the past 22 years”.
Like all other countries, India too hasn’t recognised the Taliban setup and has instead pushed for the formation of an inclusive government in Kabul and the protection of rights of women, children and minorities. At the same time, New Delhi has quietly engaged key Taliban leaders in order to have a presence in Kabul and to protect India’s security interests.