Citing lack of support, Afghan embassy ceases operations in India

Afghanistan flag. File Photo: AP

New Delhi: The Afghanistan Embassy in India announced Saturday night that it is ceasing its operations from October 1, citing a lack of support from the Indian government, failure to meet expectations in serving its interests and reduction in personnel and resources.

In a statement, the embassy in New Delhi said it made careful considerations before arriving at the decision.

"It is with profound sadness, regret, and disappointment that the Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi announces this decision to cease its operations," the statement said.

The embassy said that this decision, was made taking into account the historic ties and long-standing partnership between the two countries.

The Embassy cited a "lack of support from the host (Indian) government", alleging that it has experienced a notable absence of crucial support from the government, which it said hindered its ability to carry out duties effectively. The mission also cited "failure to meet expectations in serving Afghanistan's interests" as one of the reasons for closure.

"We acknowledge our shortcomings in meeting the expectations and requirements necessary to serve the best interests of Afghanistan and its citizens due to the lack of diplomatic support in India and the absence of a legitimate functioning government in Kabul," the mission said.

It also said that due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, there has been a significant reduction in both personnel and resources available to it, making it increasingly challenging to continue operations.

"The lack of timely and sufficient support from visa renewal for diplomats to other critical areas of cooperation led to an understandable frustration among our team and impeded our ability to carry out routine duties effectively," the statement said.

Given these circumstances, "it is with deep regret that we have taken the difficult decision to close all operations of the mission 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 said.

The embassy has been headed by Ambassador Farid Mamundzay. Mamundzay was appointed by the previous Ashraf Ghani government and he has been operating as the Afghan envoy even after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

In April-May, the embassy was rocked by a power struggle in the wake of reports of the Taliban appointing a charge d'affaires to head the mission, replacing Mamundzay. Following the episode, the embassy came out with a statement that there was no change in its leadership.

The tussle for power had erupted after Qadir Shah, who was working as a trade councillor at the embassy since 2020, wrote to the MEA in late April claiming that he was appointed as the charge d'affaires at the embassy by the Taliban.

India is yet to recognise the Taliban set-up and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul, besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country. 

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