India says Afghanistan’s New Delhi embassy ‘continues to function’

Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi. File photo.

The Ministry of External Affairs of India officially on Thursday said that the embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi remains operational, countering earlier reports of its closure on October 1.

Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India’s External Affairs Ministry, stated, “Our understanding is that the embassy in New Delhi is functioning or continuing to function.”

“We are in contact with the Afghan diplomats at the New Delhi embassy, as well as those at the consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad. However, we received communication last week purportedly from the embassy, indicating that it intends to suspend operations at the end of September,” he explained.

Bagchi stressed that such a decision falls within the purview of an internal matter for a foreign mission. He also noted that India has observed objections from the Afghan consulates general in Mumbai and Hyderabad regarding this decision.

“We are also aware that there has been a prolonged absence of the ambassador and that a large number of Afghan diplomats have left India in the recent past,” he added.

“We would hope that a substantial number of Afghan nationals in India, including students, are able to continue to receive necessary consular support. On our part, we will continue with our efforts to assist the people of Afghanistan,” Bagchi concluded.

Closure of embassy

The Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi announced on Sept. 30 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 Sept. 30, 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.