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Turkey, Iran, Pakistan close consulates amid security fears

AT News

KABUL: The Consulate Generals of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan have reportedly been suspended in the northern province of Balkh due to rise in violence fearing deteriorating security situations.

However, the Pakistan embassy in Kabul in a statement denied the reports of consular section closure. 

“The Embassy would like to state these reports are not factual,” the statement added. “The Consulates General of Pakistan in Afghanistan including Mazar-e-Sharif are open and functioning normally.”

Provincial Governor Muhammad Farhad Azimi said that the government assured these countries full security but they closed their consular sections due to the deteriorated security situation in Balkh.

He said that the diplomats of the consulates left Balkh for Kabul due to security reasons and to hold consultations with their countries ambassadors based in Kabul.

Sources said that Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have also restricted visa operations in the province. Balkh is a key province in the north, where many countries have their consular sections.

Meanwhile, officials at the Uzbekistan consular admitted that they restricted issuance of tourist visa recently.

Jafar Fattayev, Uzbekistan’s chief consul in Balkh said only issuing of tourist visa has been halted temporarily but our operations continue as usual.

This comes as Taliban recently increased their attacks in Balkh and claimed capturing some districts but officials said that the security forces thwarted the Taliban attacks.

Taliban reached near Mazar-e-Sharif the capital of the Balkh province two weeks back, but hundreds of people were mobilized against the Taliban and were deployed on the outskirts of the city.

Hairatan port, located in Balkh province has been closed on the face of passengers due to insecurity in the past two weeks.

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