Taliban in contact with Afghan diplomats: source

‘Deputy Foreign Minister’ of the Taliban told Radio Television Afghanistan that employees of the Afghan consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad had visited the Afghan Embassy

November 29, 2023 10:07 pm | Updated November 30, 2023 02:56 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Afghanistan Embassy in Delhi.

The Afghanistan Embassy in Delhi. | Photo Credit: AP

The ‘Foreign Ministry’ of the Taliban in Kabul has established ‘contact’ with a section of Afghan diplomats who were posted in the Afghan embassy in New Delhi, a senior Taliban source said on November 29. This comes days after the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan announced the permanent closure of the mission in New Delhi. 

“There were two groups in the Afghan embassy in New Delhi: There were those who were appointed as diplomats because of their affiliation with warlords in Kabul and, those who were not directly affiliated with the warlords. The second group has resumed contacts with the foreign ministry in Kabul to tackle daily affairs. The first group has taken asylum in European countries,” a senior Taliban source said in a statement to The Hindu.

Afghans visit embassy

The ‘Deputy Foreign Minister’ of the Taliban, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, in an interview with Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), said employees of the Afghan consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad had visited the Afghan embassy here on Kabul’s orders.

Stanikzai said the Embassy of Afghanistan in Delhi will become operational in a few days. He further urged the United Nations to give the chair of Afghanistan to the Taliban administration and expressed displeasure over the expulsion of more than a million Afghan refugees from Pakistan. Stanikzai emphasised the Taliban’s desire to have good relations with all countries, especially with countries in the neighbourhood. The Ministry of External Affairs is yet to respond to Stanikzai’s remarks. 

These developments have once again highlighted the uncertain status of the Afghan embassy in Delhi which hit the headlines repeatedly over the past two months. A statement from the Afghan embassy issued last week said that the embassy had shut down completely with effect from November 23. Previously, a statement was issued on October 1 announcing that the embassy would cease functioning. On both occasions, Afghan diplomats stationed in the consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad protested saying that they opposed the decision and assured continuity of consular services.

India-Taliban ties

The former Ambassador of Afghanistan to India, Farid Mamundzai, who now lives in Europe has however observed that India and the Taliban regime in Kabul have reached an understanding under which the embassy of Afghanistan will be revived under a few pro-Taliban officials and the embassy will not change its name to reflect the political nature of the Taliban - Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. 

“I have consistently emphasised that the ties between the Taliban and the current Indian government have intensified, notably since December 2022. This relationship appears to be driven by self-interest. The Taliban is seeking Delhi’s support for geopolitical balancing, economic assistance and recognition, while Delhi values the Taliban’s support for security and regional cooperation in the context of its competition with China,” said Mr. Mamundzai in a statement sent to The Hindu.

The Taliban takeover of the Afghan embassy in Delhi, Mr Mamundzai said comes “at the expense of moral and principled considerations that India long stood for with Afghanistan.” Mr. Mamundzai said there are no diplomats of the previous government of Afghanistan left in India anymore and that there are local staff who probably will be utilised to restart the mission under pro-Taliban officials from Mumbai and Hyderabad. 

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