Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi shuts down
NEW DELHI, Oct 1 (Bernama) -- Afghanistan's embassy in New Delhi has shut down as it lacks support from India as well as the interim government in Kabul.
The mission, located in the Chanakyapuri diplomatic enclave, will cease operations from Oct 1, according to a statement by the embassy on Saturday.
"It is with profound sadness, regret and disappointment that the embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi announces this decision to cease its operations. This decision, while deeply regrettable, is made after careful consideration, taking into account the historic ties and longstanding partnership between Afghanistan and India," it said.
The reasons cited for the closure included a lack of support from the host government, insufficient resources and staff shortage.
The embassy said it has experienced "a notable absence of crucial support from the host government, which has hindered our ability to carry out our duties effectively".
"The lack of timely and sufficient support from visa renewal 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," the Afghan embassy said.
Its diplomats, led by ambassador Farid Mamundzay, were appointed by the previous Ashraf Ghani administration, which collapsed in August 2021 when the Taliban advanced on Kabul.
Media reports earlier said they have been leaving India for the United States and Europe to seek asylum, but the embassy statement called the reports "unfounded rumours".
It refuted "baseless claims regarding internal strife or discord amongst our diplomatic staff or any diplomats using the crisis to seek asylum in a third country".
"In accordance with Article 45 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), all property and facilities of the Embassy will be transferred to the custodial authority of the host country," the statement said.
Despite the embassy shutting down, the Afghan consulate in Mumbai has announced it will continue to operate.
Afghanistan also has a consulate in Hyderabad city which was opened in January 2020.
Zakia Wardak, the Afghan consul general in Mumbai, in a statement on Friday responded to the issue of "the potential closure" of Afghanistan missions in India.
"In these challenging times, we want to assure all Afghan citizens living in India that the Consulate General of Afghanistan in Mumbai and Hyderabad is your reliable source of assistance for any consular, educational, or commercial matters," Zakia said.
The embassy's announcement on Saturday shows it has sharp differences with the consulates on the closure decision.
Referring to the consulates, it said "there may be some who receive support and instructions from Kabul that may differ from our current course of action".
It added: "Such activities, conducted independently, are contrary to the established norms of diplomatic representation."
While India does not formally recognise the Taliban-led government, it engages with Kabul's new rulers in its relief activities in Afghanistan.
New Delhi withdrew its diplomatic staff from Kabul in 2021 as NATO forces exited Afghanistan.
India enjoyed close political and economic relations with the previous government in Afghanistan and carried out many projects.
Bilateral trade in the financial year 2019-20 was US$1.5 billion and more than 1,700 Indian nationals used to live in Afghanistan.
The number of Afghan refugees living in India is estimated to be over 15,000.