Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi shuts down citing lack of support by India

Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi. File photo.

The Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi has announced its decision to cease operations from Sunday, October 1, for various reasons which they say have affected the embassy’s ability to continue its mission effectively.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the embassy said the lack of support by the Indian government, failure to serve Afghanistan’s interests, and reduction in personnel and resources, are key reasons for the closure of the embassy.

“The embassy has experienced a notable absence of crucial support from the host government, which has hindered our ability to carry out our duties effectively,” the statement said.

“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 statement added.

“Due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, there has been a significant reduction in both personnel and resources available to us, making it increasingly challenging to continue operations. The lack of timely and sufficient support for visa renewals 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,” it stated.

The embassy also emphasized its commitment to providing emergency consular services to Afghan citizens until the transfer of custodial authority of the mission to the Indian government is completed.

The embassy added that all of its property and assets will also be transferred to the custodial authority of the host country as per international diplomatic norms.

Meanwhile, the statement also rejected “baseless claims regarding internal strife or discord amongst our diplomatic staff or any diplomats using the crisis to seek asylum in a third country. Such rumors are unfounded and do not reflect the reality of our mission. We remain a united team working towards the best interests of Afghanistan.”

According to the statement, the Embassy of Afghanistan has urged the government of India to give serious consideration to four of its requests.

These requests include permitting the hoisting of the Afghan flag over embassy properties and facilitating the smooth transition of the mission’s buildings and assets to a legitimate government in Kabul in the future.

The embassy emphasized its commitment to upholding democratic ideals, legitimacy, and the well-being of the people of Afghanistan. It called on all diplomatic entities to align their actions with the policies and principles of a legitimate government based on the aspirations of the Afghan population.

“The Embassy is keen to reach an agreement with the Indian government at the earliest possible juncture. We aim to ensure that the interests of Afghans residing, working, studying, trading, and engaging in various activities in India are duly considered and safeguarded, preserving their interests, honor and dignity. This commitment stems from our deep sense of responsibility towards the Afghan community in India. We understand the challenges they face, especially in light of recent events, and are dedicated to finding comprehensive solutions that address their unique needs,” the statement said.

The Embassy also reiterated its commitment to “serving the people of Afghanistan and will continue to explore avenues to support our nation in these challenging times.”

The announcement comes two years after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan. While India does not recognize the Taliban government, it has allowed the embassy to continue operations under the ambassador and mission staff appointed by former president Ashraf Ghani, who fled Kabul in 2021.

However, earlier this year, the embassy was rocked by a power struggle after reports emerged that the Taliban had appointed a charge d’affaires to head the mission, replacing Ambassador Farid Mamundzay.

The embassy however issued a statement rejecting the claim and said there was no change in its leadership.