AT Kabul: The Afghanistan mission in New Delhi is set to resume activities within the next “two to three days,” according to Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the Taliban-appointed acting deputy foreign minister. In an interview with local broadcaster RTA, Stanikzai revealed that the embassy is in close contact with the Taliban-controlled foreign ministry. He also highlighted the active status of the Afghan consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad, with regular communication.
Stanikzai emphasized Afghanistan’s commitment to fostering good relations with all nations, particularly its neighbors. The announcement comes amidst a diplomatic controversy over the control of the Afghan embassy in Delhi, which has been ongoing since the Taliban seized power in August 2021. The mission, which was under the control of Farid Mamundzay, the envoy appointed under the previous democratic administration, has faced uncertainty.
Farid Mamundzay had announced the “permanent closure” of the New Delhi mission, citing efforts to tarnish its image and hinder diplomatic efforts by Taliban-appointed diplomats. However, hours later, Zakia Wardak, the consul general in Mumbai, and Sayed Mohammad Ibrahimkhil, the acting consul general in Hyderabad, declared their “joint leadership” of the mission, urging everyone to “ignore” the “unprofessional” communications by former Afghan diplomats.
Stanikzai explained that the embassy closure was due to issues with the Indian government regarding visa extensions for Afghan diplomats. Despite these challenges, he expressed the Taliban’s intent to restore full diplomatic representation at the mission soon.
Farid Mamundzay, currently in the UK, highlighted the intensification of ties between the Taliban and the current Indian government since December 2022. He suggested that the relationship is driven by mutual self-interest, with the Taliban seeking Delhi’s support for geopolitical balancing, economic assistance, and recognition. Mamundzay noted that India values the Taliban’s support in the regional geopolitical context, particularly in competition with China.
As the controversy unfolds, questions arise about the dynamics between the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and India, emphasizing geopolitical considerations and the evolving nature of diplomatic relations in the region. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson has been contacted for comment, with a response awaited.