The diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and India took a dramatic turn as Afghanistan permanently closed its embassy in New Delhi, citing persistent challenges from the Indian government and a significant policy shift. The closure, effective from November 23, 2023, marks the culmination of a series of events that began with the cessation of embassy operations on September 30.
A Policy Decision Amidst Diplomatic Strains
In a formal statement, the Afghan embassy clarified that the decision to permanently close its mission in New Delhi wasn't an outcome of internal conflicts or allegiances but was driven by broader policy changes and evolving national interests. The embassy expressed gratitude to the Afghan citizens in India and acknowledged their support throughout its tenure.
The embassy highlighted a substantial decrease in the Afghan community in India over the past twenty-seven months, noting a nearly 50% reduction in numbers since August 2021. Afghan refugees, students, and traders have been leaving the country, with minimal issuance of new visas during this period.
Diplomatic Struggles Amidst Changing Realities
Despite facing limitations in resources, the embassy asserted its commitment to serving the Afghan people in India transparently and accountably. It mentioned challenges in upholding the image of the Afghan Republic amidst efforts to impede diplomatic efforts.
The embassy confirmed the absence of Afghan Republic representatives in India, with diplomats relocated to third countries. Currently, the only Afghan representatives in India are those associated with the Taliban, participating in online meetings.
India’s Response and Afghanistan’s Gratitude
The responsibility for the fate of the mission now lies with the Indian government, which has been urged to decide whether to maintain the closure or explore alternative options, including the possibility of involving Taliban diplomats. Despite the closure, the Afghan embassy expressed gratitude to India for its support over the past 22 years.
Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay, acknowledged India's historic support but highlighted the necessity of closing the mission at this stage, aligning with Afghanistan's best interests amidst complex geopolitical dynamics.
Concerns over Consulates and Diplomatic Support
The embassy, in an unequivocal statement, dismissed certain consulates operating on instructions and funding from Kabul, labelling them as serving the interests of an “illegitimate regime," hinting at potential challenges faced during its operations.
Previously, India's Ministry of External Affairs had refuted allegations of lacking support to the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi, countering claims following the embassy's initial announcement of ceasing operations in October.
The closure of the Afghan embassy in New Delhi marks a significant shift in diplomatic ties between the two nations, as Afghanistan navigates its way through evolving political landscapes while affirming its commitment to serving its people in challenging times.