Afghanistan permanently closes Indian embassy in Delhi, cites ‘policy shift’ | Mint
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Business News/ News / World/  Afghanistan permanently closes Indian embassy in Delhi, cites ‘policy shift’

Afghanistan permanently closes Indian embassy in Delhi, cites ‘policy shift’

The embassy noted a significant decline in the Afghan community in India over the past two years, with nearly half of the Afghan refugees, students, and traders leaving the country since August 2021.

New Delhi, India. A view of the Afghanistan Embassy at Shantipath, Afghan embassy suspend operations in India, in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)Premium
New Delhi, India. A view of the Afghanistan Embassy at Shantipath, Afghan embassy suspend operations in India, in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

The Afghanistan embassy announced its permanent closure in New Delhi on Friday.

As per an official statement on the closure of its diplomatic mission in New Delhi, the Afghan embassy said, "Effective from November 23, 2023 owing to persistent challenges from the Indian government. The decision follows the embassy's earlier cessation of operations on September 30, a move made in the hope that the Indian government stance will favourably change to let the mission operate normally."

The embassy said it was 'cognisant' that some may attempt to characterise this move as an internal conflict, allegedly involving diplomats who switched allegiance to the Taliban, adding “that this decision is a result of broader changes in policy and interests".

Also Read: Taliban-ruled Afghanistan ranks second worldwide in internally displaced population


"To the Afghan citizens in India, the Embassy extends its sincere gratitude for their understanding and support throughout our mission's tenure," it added.

Despite "limitations in resources and power", the Afghan embassy said it has worked “tirelessly for their betterment and in the absence of a legitimate government in Kabul".

Also Read: Why Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi has ceased its operations? Explained

In the last twenty-seven months, the Afghan community in India has experienced a notable decrease, according to the embassy's statement. Afghan refugees, students, and traders have been departing the country, resulting in nearly a 50% reduction in numbers since August 2021. The statement further highlighted that there has been minimal issuance of new visas during this period.

Also Read: Biden holds Trump accountable for chaotic and hastily executed Afghan withdrawal

"We assure the Afghan community that the mission operated with transparency, accountability, and a commitment to fair treatment based on the goodwill and interests of Afghanistan considering historic ties and bilateral relations with India," it added.

"Unfortunately, efforts have been made to tarnish our image and hinder diplomatic efforts in order to justify the presence and work of Taliban-appointed and affiliated diplomats. In the face of these challenges, our committed team worked diligently in the most difficult circumstances, prioritizing the interests of the 40 million Afghans in every possible sphere from securing humanitarian aid and online education scholarships to facilitating ease in trade and advocating for the formation of a broad-based government," the Afghan embassy stated further in its statement.

Also Read: Opportunity for India as Iran-Saudi ties reshape Taliban-led Afghanistan

It added that the Afghan embassy “exerted diplomatic pressure in its power on those who defy the will of the Afghan people by failing to form an inclusive government and denying millions of girls the right to attend school".

Currently, there are no representatives from the Afghan Republic in India, as conveyed by the embassy. Diplomats who were stationed in the national capital have successfully relocated to third countries.

The embassy further clarified that the only individuals present in India are diplomats associated with the Taliban, actively participating in their routine online meetings.

"The diplomats of the Afghan Republic have handed over the mission solely to the Indian government. It now rests upon the Indian government to decide the fate of the mission, whether to maintain its closure or consider alternatives, including the possibility of handing it over to Taliban diplomats. 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," it added.

Also Read: India ditches Pakistan route, to send food supply to Afghanistan through Iran

"We have considered the historic events and current circumstances carefully in arriving at this conclusion. We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to the people of India for their support and assistance to Afghanistan over the past 22 years. We reiterate our commitment to serving the people of Afghanistan and will continue to explore avenues to support our nation in these challenging times," the statement concluded.

Also Read: Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi blames India for its shutdown; internet reacts

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay in a post on X wrote that India has been a steadfast strategic partner of the erstwhile Afghan Republic since 2001, adding, “and we acknowledge the limitations & concerns that govern the realm of realpolitik and the balancing act required at a difficult time in a geo-politically sensitive region."

“Therefore, we firmly believe that the decision to close the mission in India at this stage and to transfer of the custodial authority of the mission to the host country is in the best interest of Afghanistan," Mamundzay further added.

Meanwhile, the embassy also made an “unequivocal statement" stating that certain consulates that work on the instructions and funding from Kabul are not in consonance with the objectives of a legitimate or elected government but rather serve the interests of an “illegitimate regime".

Earlier in October, the Ministry of External Affairs rejected allegations that India did not provide support to the Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi, days after Afghan diplomats announced that the embassy would cease operations from October 1.

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Mausam Jha
A journalist covering International Relations, and Business.
Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Check all the latest action on Budget 2024 here. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
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Published: 24 Nov 2023, 09:02 AM IST
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