New Delhi: Effective today (October 1), Afghanistan has closed its embassy in New Delhi. The ambassador and other senior diplomats have left India to go to Europe and the US, where they have received asylum.
“It is with profound sadness, regret, and disappointment that the Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi announces this decision to cease its operations. 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 embassy said in a statement.
The Afghan embassy’s decision had been conveyed to India’s Ministry of External Affairs through a note verbale on September 25. Afghan ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay, confirmed the letter in a statement. He also added that he had been absent since June 18, “with an Acting Ambassador actively overseeing the mission’s operations during this period”.
After the Taliban took over in August 2021, India had evacuated its embassy in Kabul. However, India was back in Kabul in June 2022 with a ‘technical team’ made up of diplomats and security personnel. It had to work as a ‘de-facto’ embassy as India, just like the rest of the international community, does not recognise the Taliban regime.
The Afghan embassy in New Delhi continued to operate after the fall of the Islamic Republic, but did not recognise the Taliban regime. In May this year, the Taliban regime finally sent a directive that Mamundzay, appointed by the previous Islamic Republic, should be removed and replaced with another diplomat as Charge D’affaires.
However, the Taliban-appointed diplomat was not allowed to take charge by his other colleagues when Mamundzay had been out of the country.
In the public statement on the embassy’s closure, the Afghan embassy said the “lack of support from the host [Indian] government” was one of the reasons. The embassy said it was unable to fulfil its duties to the people of Afghanistan “due to the lack of diplomatic support in India and the absence of a legitimate functioning government in Kabul”.
The lack of resources and personnel were also making it difficult for the embassy to operate, the embassy said.
The two other Afghani consulates in India, in Mumbai and Hyderabad, which have established relations with the Taliban’s foreign ministry in Kabul, maintain that they are still operational. In its statement, the Afghan embassy said, “The Embassy also acknowledges that, given the gravity of this decision [to close], there may be some who receive support and instructions from Kabul that may differ from our current course of action. The Embassy of Afghanistan wishes to make an unequivocal statement regarding the activities of certain consulates. It is our firm belief that any action 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.”
“We emphasize that the actions of these consulates do not align with the principles and values upheld by the legitimate authorities of Afghanistan. Such activities, conducted independently, are contrary to the established norms of diplomatic representation,” the statement said.