Taliban take control of Afghan diplomatic missions in India: Report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Taliban take control of Afghan diplomatic missions in India: Report

Bloomberg |
Nov 29, 2023 07:30 PM IST

The Taliban have taken de facto control of diplomatic missions in India, more than two years after the group ousted the US-backed government in Kabul.

The Taliban have taken de facto control of diplomatic missions in India, more than two years after the group ousted the US-backed government in Kabul.

Visitors stand outside the Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi on November 24, 2023. (AFP)
Visitors stand outside the Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi on November 24, 2023. (AFP)

“Our consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad are functioning and in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, a Taliban deputy foreign minister, during a Tuesday interview with the state television channel RTA.

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The embassy in New Delhi, which closed last week, will also reopen in the next few days, he said, without elaborating.

In recent months, the Taliban have pulled closer to India, which sees the group as a close ally against archrival Pakistan. Dozens of Afghan diplomats appointed under the US-backed government have left India, Farid Mamundzay, the former Afghan ambassador in New Delhi, told Bloomberg News. Those that remain support the Taliban’s foreign ministry, he said.

“India has actively encouraged diplomats to engage with the Taliban government, showing support for those with direct backing from Kabul,” said Mamundzay, who also resigned from his post and moved to London several months ago.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment.

Read: Afghan Embassy in India to Shut Following Layoffs on Fund Crunch

The Afghan diplomats working in India are Consul Generals Zakia Wardak in Mumbai and Sayed Mohammad Ibrahimkhail in Hyderabad, as well as trade counselor Mohammad Qadir Shah. They stand behind the Taliban, according to Mamundzay.

India is looking for ways to engage with the Taliban as it wants to protect its investments in Afghanistan and maintain influence there. New Delhi reopened its embassy in Kabul last year to supply humanitarian aid, such as food and medicine. Consular services, including visas for Afghan nationals, are still largely suspended.

While a handful of countries, including China, Pakistan and Russia, have accepted Taliban diplomats in their countries, they don’t formally recognize the government, which has been condemned internationally for human rights violations. China was the first nation to present diplomatic credentials to the Taliban in September.

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