Nearly two months after announcing the suspension of its operations, the Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi has officially declared its permanent closure.
In a statement released on Friday (24 November), Afghanistan's ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay, cited "persistent challenges from the Indian government" as the reason for the closure.
The decision comes after the embassy had initially ceased operations on 30 September, with hopes that the Indian government's stance would change "favourably".
It claims that despite an eight-week wait, the objectives of visa extension for diplomats and a shift in the Indian government's conduct were not realised, leading to the "difficult choice" to permanently close the embassy.
The statement emphasised that the closure was in the best interest of Afghanistan, acknowledging India as a steadfast strategic partner since 2001.
As of now, there are no diplomats from the Afghan Republic in India, with those who served in the national capital having safely reached third countries. The only individuals present in India are diplomats affiliated with the Taliban, attending online meetings.
The embassy has handed over the mission to the Indian government, leaving the fate of the mission, whether to maintain its closure or consider alternatives, in the hands of the Indian government, Indian Express reported.
The embassy urged the Indian government to consider specific requests during this challenging time for Afghanistan. These requests include taking custody of Afghan diplomatic mission properties, bank accounts, and vehicles, maintaining the hoisting of Afghanistan's flag on the embassy premises, and ensuring the safekeeping of the embassy's property and assets for a legitimate accountable government chosen by the Afghan people in the future.
The statement acknowledged the decline in the Afghan community in India over the past two years and three months, with Afghan refugees, students, and traders leaving the country.
Despite limitations in resources and power, the embassy claimed to have worked tirelessly for the betterment of the Afghan community. The statement also highlighted efforts to secure humanitarian aid, online education scholarships, ease in trade, and advocacy for the formation of a broad-based government.
In conclusion, the embassy expressed gratitude to the people of India for their support over the past 22 years and reiterated its commitment to serving the people of Afghanistan.
The closure follows the embassy's earlier announcement on 1 October, citing "lack of resources" and the "failure to meet Afghanistan's interests" by the Taliban regime.
The embassy also emphasised that certain consulates, working on the instructions and funding from Kabul, do not align with the objectives of a legitimate or elected government but serve the interests of an "illegitimate regime."
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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