Taliban ‘dismisses’ former republic’s diplomats in Istanbul

Photo: Afghanistan Embassy in Turkey.

The Taliban foreign ministry has “dismissed” four diplomats at the Afghanistan consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, a memo seen by Amu TV shows.

The reason for the dismissal of these diplomats appears to be linked to the end of their tenure which was August 29, 2022.

The Taliban sent memos to the consulate’s first secretaries Seyeed Hamed Nomani and Ahmad Baryalay Kabirzadeh, the second secretary Hekmatullah Durrani, and to the third secretary Ghulam Mustafa Zaka on December 10.

These four diplomats were appointed to the consulate in Istanbul by the republic government and have continued to provide diplomatic services despite the collapse of the former government.

The Taliban foreign ministry meanwhile has asked the diplomats to return to Kabul stating: “Considering the termination of their diplomatic service in Turkey, they are being informed to return to Kabul,” the memo read.

The Afghan consulate’s first secretary Seyed Hamed Nomani told Amu in a phone conversation that all four of them will continue their work as usual as they do not recognize the Taliban’s foreign ministry.

Nomani stated that the Afghan consulate in Istanbul has no formal administrative relationship with the Taliban’s foreign ministry and that diplomats only contact the ministry for approval of Power of Attorney letters and marriage certificates of Afghan nationals in Turkey.

He added that the Afghan consulate generates a daily income of more than $4,000 which covers all the mission’s expenses.

Nomani stated that the diplomats were dismissed after a Taliban-designated diplomat, Gul Mohammad Khan Zadran, was barred from entering the consulate in Istanbul.

Referring to the memos, which the diplomats are ignoring, Nomani said: “It is not just about the diplomats, we are not the only ones standing against the Taliban; all the Turks are standing against the Taliban.”

Haris Izadyar, another Afghan diplomat from the consulate, also confirmed to Amu TV that the organization is not accountable to the Taliban government.

Izadyar stated that he has worked with the four diplomats for more than two years.

According to him, the consulate staff have barred the Taliban-appointed diplomat Zadran, who considers himself consul-general in Istanbul, from entering the consulate for the last three months.

However, he currently resides in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.

Izadyar meanwhile said Zadran has a close relationship with Afghanistan’s ambassador to Ankara, Amir Mohammad Ramin, who was appointed to the position by the republic government.

He stated that the Turkish government also chose not to get involved in the issue. “The Taliban government is yet to be recognized, the Turkish government continues with the same structure as it had during the republic government. However, in the meetings that we had regarding Zadran; the embassy, consulate, and the Turkish government’s message was that it does not interfere in the internal matters of the embassies,” Izadyar said.

The Amu TV correspondent made several calls to the Taliban foreign ministry but could not reach the spokesmen.

Embassies still operating

Most of Afghanistan’s embassies have continued to work 16 months after the collapse of the former government. While no country has officially recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government, the issue of embassy staff from the former government forging working relations with the Taliban remains unclear.

According to a number of former diplomats, the Afghan consulate in Istanbul was considered one of the country’s key missions but after the republic’s collapse, the consulate itself was plunged into crisis after the Afghan consul-general in Istanbul Zabihullah Hossain Khel resigned from his post.