Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi has closed as diplomats appointed by the Afghan government ousted by the Taliban two years ago failed to secure visa extensions from their Indian hosts, the outgoing ambassador said in a statement on Friday.
India does not recognise the Taliban government which seized power in 2021, and had allowed Ambassador Farid Mamundzay and mission staff to stay in place, issuing visas and handling trade matters.
In September, however, the ambassador and senior staff left for Europe and the US to seek asylum, and the embassy said it was suspending operations.
An embassy statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday said that period in limbo was over, and the embassy was shutting and the keys had been given to the host government.
It also said that pressure from both the Indian government and the Taliban had forced the decision.
“Unfortunately, despite an eight-week wait, the objectives of visa extension for diplomats and a shift in the Indian government’s conduct were not realised,” ambassador Mamundzay said in the statement.
“Given the constant pressure from both the Taliban and the Indian government to relinquish control, the embassy faced a difficult choice,” the statement added.
Afghan diplomats in India appointed by Ghani’s government have reached third countries and there are none remaining in India, the embassy statement said.
“The only individuals present in India are diplomats affiliated with the Taliban, visibly attending their regular online meetings,” the statement said.
The statement made no mention of the status of the Afghan consulates in other cities, including Mumbai.
India’s foreign ministry and the Taliban-run Afghan foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Press Statement— Afghan Embassy India (@AfghanistanInIN) November 24, 2023
24th November, 2023
The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan announces permanent closure in New Delhi.
The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New Delhi regrets to announce the permanent closure of its diplomatic mission in New Delhi 1/2 pic.twitter.com/VlXRSA0vZ8