Iran to hand over Afghan embassy in Tehran to Taliban

The Iranian Foreign Ministry is set to hand over the Afghan Embassy in Tehran to the Taliban caretaker government, an Afghan diplomat in Iran confirmed to Amu TV.

According to the diplomat, Iran will officially hand over the embassy to the Taliban on Sunday. The diplomat added they were in contact with Iranian foreign ministry officials until late Monday night, but were informed by the ministry that a “serious decision in this regard” had been taken.

This comes after the Taliban-run foreign ministry stated in a letter, which was seen by Amu TV, that it had appointed Mohammad Afzal Haqqani as designated ambassador to Tehran.

The letter noted that Haqqani, as the first secretary of the embassy, will be in charge of the mission.

The letter, which was signed by Taliban’s foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, stated: “It is directed that Mr. Mohammad Afzal Haqqani be appointed as the fourth rank employee, the first secretary of the Afghan Embassy in Tehran-Iran, effective from 5 Jaddi 1401 (December 26, 2022) in the affairs of that embassy, supervise [the embassy] until further notice and assure them of their performance”.

Mohammad Afzal Haqqani was appointed as a deputy consular in the embassy in Tehran eight months ago.

A source from the embassy told Amu TV that Haqqani had traveled from Tehran to Kabul and then returned with his letter of appointment as head of the Afghan Embassy in Tehran.

A diplomat at the embassy told Amu TV however that the Iranian Foreign Ministry did not initially accept Haqqani as the new ambassador to Tehran.

The diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “When Haqqani brought a letter, the Iranians did not accept it. Meanwhile, a decision was made between the Taliban and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran to hand over the embassy to the Taliban by the beginning of next (solar) year. I have no idea what deal was made, but the Iranians summoned [the republic ambassador] Soleimani today and seriously told him that there is no place for opposing [the order] and that he should hand over the embassy to them (Taliban) on Sunday.”While no country in the world has yet recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia handed over the Afghan embassies to the group a few months ago.