NEW DELHI: The Afghan embassy in New Delhi is set to close, the mission’s press secretary said on Friday, after reports citing a lack of support from Indian authorities.
Most of the diplomatic staff who represented the Afghan government before the Taliban takeover in August 2021 have already left India and no new ones have been appointed.
India, which does not recognize the Taliban government, suspended its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after their return to power. In June 2022, it deployed a “technical team” to the Afghan capital to “monitor and coordinate” Indian humanitarian assistance there.
In a letter to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, dated Sept. 25, the Afghan mission said its “significance has been systematically diminished since the reopening of the Indian embassy in Kabul in June 2022” and it would cease operations by the end of September due to “the absence of diplomatic consideration and systemic support” from the Indian government.
“Yes, it’s closing its operations,” press secretary Abdul Haq Azad told Arab News.
Afghan Ambassador Farid Mamundzai, who said in February that the mission no longer had any political relations with Kabul, left India for the UK in June.
In the letter, which has been widely circulated by the media in India and Afghanistan, the embassy said it could not “function normally.”
“Despite many requests on issues of key concerns to the status of the mission, education initiatives, consular services support, humanitarian assistance and business and commerce help to Afghan traders, either no actions required were taken or very limited support was provided by the concerned authorities resulting in considerable administrative, diplomatic and operational difficulties for the mission,” the embassy said, adding it could not deliver on the expectations of 3,000 Afghan students who waited to return to their universities in India.
India stopped the issuance of student visas after the regime change in Afghanistan, making it impossible for those enrolled in its educational institutions to return.
“Also, the number of visas granted to Afghan citizens since August 2021 was far less than what was expected of India during a difficult phase in the history of Afghanistan,” the letter said.
“The strength of long Indo-Afghan relations has historically been anchored in deep-rooted ties and a foundation of mutual respect, which has been the bedrock of our relationship, is regrettably no longer as evident as it once was.”
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs did not respond to requests for comment.