Afghanistan’s embassy in Tehran handed over to Taliban

The outgoing ambassador of Afghanistan handed over all documents and assets of Afghanistan’s embassy in Tehran to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday which in turn “officially” handed over the mission to the Taliban the same afternoon, an Afghan diplomat in Iran said.

Taliban has appointed Fazl Mohammad Haqqani, the first secretary of the former ambassador of Afghanistan in Iran, as the group’s charge d’affaires in Tehran, two sources from the embassy said.

The sources added that last week Iran asked the officials of the embassy in Tehran to hand the embassy over to the Taliban.

Abdul Qayum Sulaimani, ambassador of the former Afghan government in Tehran, handed the embassy over on Sunday afternoon, said sources.

Hamid Rahguzar, a diplomat in Iran from the former Afghan government, told Amu that last week, Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the Afghan ambassador in Tehran and told him that his tenure had ended and that Iran had decided to hand the embassy over to the Taliban.

Rahguzar said that Sulaimani and a number of diplomats from Afghanistan in Tehran decided to hand over the embassy to the foreign ministry of Iran instead of the Taliban.

“All documents and equipment at the embassy were handed over to the foreign ministry of Iran,” he said.

Early this month, Taliban’s foreign ministry stated in an official letter to Afghanistan’s embassy in Tehran that Mohammad Afzal Haqqani – who has worked as first secretary since the summer – had been appointed as charge d’affaires.

After receiving the letter, Iran’s foreign ministry said it did not accept Haqqani as the new envoy. A diplomat from Afghanistan’s embassy in Tehran said that the decision on the rejection of the Taliban’s move was published on Iran’s foreign ministry website but it was removed the next day.

“Iran wants to implement the policies that were applied by Pakistan on Afghanistan over the past year and wants to follow in Pakistan’s footsteps,” said Akhtar Rasikh, an analyst.

“The only issue that Iran is interested in with the Taliban is fear of Daesh threats because Iran thinks Daesh’s presence is as big in Afghanistan as it is shown by the West,” said Mohammad Hashim Danish, an analyst.

Taliban’s charge d’affaires

Mohammad Afzal Haqqani was appointed as the deputy secretary of Afghanistan’s embassy in Tehran eight months ago.

A diplomat from Afghanistan’s embassy in Tehran said last week the former embassy staff did not Haqqani to work there.

He said there was a “compromise” between Iran and Taliban about the new leadership of the embassy.

This comes as no country has officially recognized the Taliban administration – 18 months after their takeover.