30 Sept 2023

Will Afghanistan Embassy In India Shut Down? How Will It Affect India, Stakeholders?

New Delhi: Afghanistan's Embassy in India has reportedly written a letter to the Indian government saying it is going to close its operations.

India says that this is an internal matter of the Taliban government and India cannot do anything regarding the appointment.

According to some media reports, Indian staff of the Embassy has been fired without notice and many diplomats have left India to seek refuge in Western countries.

Afghan embassy officials said it will shut down on Saturday September 30. According to reports, a letter was sent from the mission to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday to close down the embassy by 30 September. However, the Ministry of External Affairs has not confirmed the receipt of the letter and no comment on the matter has been made so far.

Pertaining to the development, sources said, "The Afghan Embassy in New Delhi has purportedly issued a communication on this issue. The authenticity of the communication and its contents are being examined".

India is yet to issue any official statement

At present, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has not issued any official statement regarding this letter.

This letter has been sent almost two years after the Taliban government came to power in Afghanistan, which has given rise to a new crisis.

Ambassador appointed by Ghani is still commanding the Embassy

The command of Afghanistan's Embassy in India is still in the hands of the ambassador appointed by previous Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani. Ambassador Farid Mamundzay has been working in India for the last three years.

In August 2021, the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan from the Ashraf Ghani government.

The question is what does the Taliban government want? Doesn't it have control over Afghanistan's Embassy in India? Does it want to change the ambassador appointed by the Ghani government?

India has not recognized the Taliban regime 

After the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, most of the countries have refused to accept the appointments of the Taliban in their embassies. New Delhi has not officially recognized the Taliban regime in Kabul and so do many major countries.

However, there are some countries like Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran where Taliban appointees are running embassies.

In India Farid Mamundzay appointed by the Ghani government is the ambassador. However, Mamundzay has been out of the country for the last few months.

After the arrival of Taliban in Afghanistan, India temporarily closed its embassy in Kabul.

But after a year, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan by sending a technical team for humanitarian assistance, but this embassy is not functioning as before.

India is advocating the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Taliban can't appoint its ambassador to Delhi without India's consent

It is not easy for the Taliban government to appoint its ambassador to Delhi without India's consent.

Unless India recognizes the Taliban, they cannot appoint their ambassador.

If India agrees, it will be a change in India's policy. This will not be called India's recognition of Taliban, but it will be the act of adding a new link in the working relationship.

Trade between 2 nations is very small

The trade between India and Afghanistan is about 100 crore US dollars, which is not even one percent of India's total trade.

This has reduced further after Taliban came to power, hence India does not have much at stake from trade point of view.

Thousands of Afghan refugees and students in India will face hardship

But there are thousands of Afghan refugees and Afghan students who are living in India. The closure of the embassy will bring difficulties for them.

Many Afghan citizens live in India, they keep coming and going to Afghanistan. They go to the embassy to get passport, visa or other documents certified. If it is closed then they will have to face problems. These people are also the source of income for the embassy.

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