Context- The Afghanistan embassy in Delhi is closing, citing issues like lack of support from India.
Although the embassy represented the now-overthrown Afghan government, it was still aiding Afghans
in India. Meanwhile, consulates remain open, and unofficial ties between India and Afghanistan persist
despite the closure.
What are the reasons for the closing of the Afghan embassy in Delhi?
Lack of Cooperation from India
- The embassy pointed to a lack of cooperation from the Indian government as a major reason for
the closure. The official statement expressed dissatisfaction, emphasizing an absence of needed
- Operating further has become untenable for the embassy due to a lack of resources. This
constraint has impeded its functioning and ultimately is a key factor in its closure.
Representation of a Deposed Government
- Since the Taliban took over in August 2021, the embassy has symbolically represented the
previous Afghan government, not the current rulers. The ambassador of the old regime, Farid
Mamundzay, left India and hasn’t returned, leaving a leadership void.
Request to Maintain Afghan Flag
- Despite the closure, the embassy asked India to keep flying the flag of the Islamic Republic of
Afghanistan and eventually hand the mission to a “legitimate” Afghan government in the future.
How does this impact Afghan-Indian relations?
Closure of the Symbolic Embassy
- The embassy in Delhi, representing the ousted Afghan government, has announced its closure.
It’s symbolically significant as it represented the previous Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, not
the Taliban, which now controls Afghanistan since August 2021.
Ambiguous Diplomatic Relations
- India does not recognize the Taliban, causing diplomatic relations to be complex and challenging.
The embassy had been acting as a “stateless mission,” aiding Afghan citizens and travelers in
India without representing the current rulers of Kabul.
- Despite the embassy’s closure, consulates in Hyderabad and Mumbai will stay open, and Zakia
Wardak, the Consul General, has committed to continuing services to help Afghan students,
refugees, and traders in India. This helps maintain some level of connection and support
between the two nations.
Technical Team in Kabul
- India sustains a unique connection through a “technical team” in Kabul that provides visas to
Afghan traders and travelers to India, indicating that, despite the closure, ties in some form
continue, albeit informally.