KABUL: Indian government is considering its options to re-staff its embassy in Afghanistan as several countries including the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Japan and the European Union are beginning to discuss the possibility of re-opening embassies in Kabul.
In November, the UAE re-started operations in Kabul which would add to the list of embassies that are open including Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Last month, Washington and Doha signed an agreement for the Qatari embassy in Kabul to represent the “diplomatic interests” of the U.S.
While recognition for the Taliban is still “far away” and not even being “remotely considered”, said officials, each of the countries still engaged with Afghanistan is taking a decision based on how best to cater to the needs of their relationship with the Afghan population. In particular, the trouble India has had with transiting aid through Pakistan, including “conditions” from the Imran Khan Government stipulating only Pakistani trucks will carry the Indian aid, and demanding that India must pay for the cartage, have reopened conversations about having a presence on the ground.
“Establishing a presence in Afghanistan has nothing to do with recognition. It simply means that you would like to have people on the ground dealing with the new regime, to continue engagement with the people,” said a senior official, who said the Modi Government is not convinced about the need to re-open its mission, but that discussions are continuing on what India’s strategy should be.
At present the Indian Embassy in Kabul, which was evacuated within two days of the Taliban taking control of the city on August 15, is locked and has not been ransacked or damaged, according to officials, and the “green zone”, where the Embassy is situated, is being guarded by the Taliban. India’s consulates in Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad and Kandahar were completely shut down and emptied out before the final evacuation.
According to officials, there are several options to re-staffing an Indian position there including posting a team in the well-secured U.N. compound, keeping local Afghan staff, or maintaining a small group of diplomats and security personnel at the embassy itself.