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Conflicting Reports Surround Status of Afghan Embassy in New Delhi

In a surprising turn of events, the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi finds itself at the center of conflicting reports regarding its operational status. Initially, the embassy announced its closure, citing challenges from the Indian government and the expiration of diplomats’ tenures. According to their statement, the decision to permanently close the diplomatic mission was made due to persistent challenges from the Indian government, despite earlier efforts to continue operations until the end of September.

Regret was expressed in the statement over the failure to achieve objectives such as visa extensions for diplomats and a favorable shift in the Indian government’s conduct, despite an eight-week waiting period. The embassy highlighted the difficult choice it faced, caught between the pressure from both the Islamic Emirate and the Indian government to relinquish control.

Amid these developments, the Afghan Embassy urged the Indian government to adhere to the Vienna Convention of 1961 (Article 45) and promptly assume custodial responsibility for Afghan diplomatic mission properties, bank accounts, vehicles, and other assets in New Delhi. A detailed list of assets, including approximately $500,000 in mission bank accounts, has been provided to the Ministry of External Affairs.

The statement clarified that no diplomats from the Afghan Republic remained in India, and those affiliated with the Taliban had safely reached third countries. The fate of the mission, whether to maintain its closure or explore alternatives, including handing it over to Taliban diplomats, was left to the discretion of the Indian government.

Afghan Ambassador Farid Mamondzai corroborated this closure statement on his social media handle. However, contrary to this announcement, the Consul General of Afghanistan in Mumbai, Zakia Wardak, and acting Consul General in Hyderabad, Sayed Mohammad Ibrahimkhel, asserted that they had assumed leadership in New Delhi. They reassured Afghan nationals that the embassy would continue to function without disruptions in consular services.

Wardak and Ibrahimkhel discredited previous communications by former Afghan diplomats based abroad, describing them as unprofessional, irresponsible, and creating panic. They emphasized ongoing communication with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, acknowledging the challenges stemming from the departure of former embassy colleagues who received asylum and left India.

As of now, both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul and the Indian government have not issued official statements on these conflicting developments, leaving the status of the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi in a state of uncertainty.

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