The Afghan Embassy in New Delhi has officially closed permanently, as announced on Friday. The closure is due to challenges from the Indian government and a lack of diplomatic support.
In a press release, it was stated that the closure was effective from Thursday and follows the embassy’s previous decision to cease operations from October 1. This decision was made due to the absence of a recognized government in Kabul. The embassy had initially planned to continue providing emergency consular services to Afghan nationals.
The embassy had hoped that the Indian government’s stance would change to allow for the normal continuation of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New Delhi. However, facing constant pressure from both the Taliban and the Indian government, the embassy was forced to make a difficult choice.
No immediate comment was made by India’s External Affairs Ministry.
India has not recognized the Taliban government, and had evacuated its staff from Kabul ahead of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. India no longer has a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and has stated that it will follow the lead of the United Nations in deciding whether to recognize the Taliban government.
The Afghan Embassy in New Delhi was previously run by staff appointed by the previous government of ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, with permission from Indian authorities.
In its statement on Friday, the embassy confirmed that there are no diplomats from the Afghan Republic in India, and that the embassy staff have safely reached third countries. The mission has been handed over to the Indian government.
The embassy stated that it is now up to the Indian government to decide the fate of the mission, including the possibility of handing it over to Taliban ‘diplomats’.
The U.N. refugee agency reports that Afghans account for around one-third of the nearly 40,000 refugees registered in India. The Afghan embassy also noted that the Afghan community in India has significantly declined over the past two years, with refugees, students, and others leaving the country.
In 2022, India sent relief materials to Afghanistan, including wheat, medicine, COVID-19 vaccines, and winter clothes to help with shortages in the war-devastated Afghan economy.