Saudi Arabia closes embassy in Kabul

Saudi Arabia closed its embassy in Kabul on Thursday, Feb. 2, over threats of a possible attack by Daesh on the diplomatic office, sources from the Taliban foreign ministry said.

Sources said all diplomats and employees of the embassy had been moved to Islamabad and it is not clear when they will return to Kabul.

A senior diplomat from Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry told Amu they received reports that Daesh was planning to attack the Saudi diplomatic office in Kabul using a car bomb. The diplomat said that the threat prompted them to close the embassy.

“A number of employees have returned to Riyadh but some will remain in Islamabad where they will operate,” the official said. “We cannot provide details on the number of employees [evacuated].”

Saudi Arabia’s embassy was located in Shash Darak area in downtown Kabul in one of the most secure areas in the city.

Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Kabul in November 2021, three months after the fall of the previous government, and sent its 14 diplomats to Afghanistan.

But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Amu that the Saudi Arabian embassy has not been closed in Kabul.

“The diplomats of Saudi Arabia have traveled to Riyadh for a training program and will return to Kabul after a week,” he said.

Reports meanwhile emerged Sunday over the closure of other embassies in Kabul – including the embassies of the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. However, officials from these embassies confirmed to Amu that they have not closed and are still working.

After the fall of the Republic government, most foreign embassies closed. Since then only 12 foreign embassies are in Kabul. They are Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, UAE, India and Turkey.

Mujahid said that France, US, Britain, Germany, Canada, Spain and Australia are operating in Doha and “are in contact with our embassy there (in Doha).”

Over the past year under Taliban rule, Daesh has claimed responsibility for attacks on Russia and Pakistan embassies in Kabul as well as an attack on a hotel accommodating Chinese nationals in the Afghan capital.

Taliban has often stressed that the security of diplomatic offices and foreign diplomats will be maintained.