Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi permanently shuts doors over ‘pressure from Taliban, Indian government’

The Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi has formally declared its permanent closure, effective November 23, citing ongoing challenges with the Indian government and pressure from the Taliban.

This decision comes after a temporary cessation of operations on September 30, 2023, in the hope of a positive shift in the Indian government’s stance to facilitate normal diplomatic activities.

In a statement released on Friday, the Embassy expressed disappointment, stating, “Unfortunately, despite an eight-week wait, the objectives of visa extension for diplomats and a shift in the Indian government’s conduct were not realized.”

Highlighting the challenging circumstances faced by Afghanistan, the Embassy justified the closure decision as being in the country’s best interest amidst persistent pressures from both the Taliban and the Indian government.

The statement noted, “Given the constant pressure from both the Taliban and the Indian government to relinquish control, the embassy faced a difficult choice.”

During this challenging period, the Afghanistan Embassy made three specific requests to the Indian government:

Custodial Responsibility: Under the provisions of the Vienna Convention of 1961, the Embassy called upon the Ministry of External Affairs of India to fulfill its obligations regarding assuming custodial responsibility for Afghan diplomatic mission properties, bank accounts, vehicles, and other assets in New Delhi.

Flag Hoisting Permission: The embassy requested permission to hoist Afghanistan’s tricolor flag over its properties, aligning with the wishes of the Afghan people. The statement emphasized the flag’s importance as a symbol of honor, pride, sacrifice, and self-determination for millions of Afghans worldwide.

Safekeeping of Assets: The Embassy implored the Indian Ministry to ensure the safekeeping of its property and assets, with the understanding that they would be entrusted to a legitimate accountable government duly elected or chosen by the Afghan people in the future.

While acknowledging potential characterizations of the closure as an internal conflict, the embassy clarified that the decision stems from broader changes in policy and interests rather than individual diplomats switching allegiance to the Taliban.

The Embassy confirmed that diplomats have handed over the Embassy to the Indian government, leaving the decision on its fate in India’s hands. The statement concluded, “The responsibility of diplomats appointed by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has officially come to an end. The unfortunate end of the Republic mission marks the conclusion of the Afghan Republic in India.”

According to the embassy’s statement, there are no former government diplomats in India, and “those who served the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan have safely reached third countries. The only individuals present in India are diplomats affiliated with the Taliban, visibly attending their regular online meetings.”