The Embassy of Afghanistan in India has announced its closure, citing a lack of support from India and increasingly challenging conditions to operate. The closure is set to take effect from October 1.
In a statement released on Saturday, the Afghan embassy expressed its desire to reach an agreement with the Indian government to ensure the safeguarding of the interests of Afghans living, working, studying, and doing business in India. Afghanistan accounts for about one-third of the nearly 40,000 refugees registered in India, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency.
The embassy stated that there has been a significant reduction in personnel and resources available, making it difficult to continue operations. The closure comes more than two years after the Taliban government seized power, resulting in the collapse of President Ashraf Ghani’s government following the withdrawal of US troops after 20 years of war and occupation.
The embassy attributed the decision to the lack of “crucial support” from India, which has hampered its capacity to carry out its duties. It also mentioned shortcomings in meeting the expectations to serve Afghan citizens due to the absence of a legitimate functioning government in Kabul, referring to the Taliban administration.
Contrary to previous reports of internal infighting among embassy staff, the embassy clarified that such speculations were unfounded rumors. India will take control of the embassy in a caretaker capacity.
As of now, India’s foreign ministry has not issued any statement in response to the closure announcement. It is worth noting that no country officially recognizes Afghanistan’s new government, although they acknowledge the Taliban as the de facto ruling authority.
This situation has left many Afghan embassies and consulates in a state of uncertainty, with diplomats appointed by the former government refusing to relinquish control of embassy buildings and property to representatives chosen by the Taliban authorities.
India, although not recognizing the Taliban government, is interested in maintaining ties with Afghanistan, where its regional rival Pakistan holds significant influence. In the past, Indian envoys have met with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar. India had sent relief materials, including wheat, medicine, COVID-19 vaccines, and winter clothes to Afghanistan last year. Additionally, in June of last year, India dispatched a team of officials to its embassy in Kabul.
Prior to the Taliban’s rise to power, India provided training and military equipment to Afghan security forces but had no troops on the ground. India was also the largest provider of development aid to Afghanistan in the region.