Afghan Embassy Suspends Operations in India as Diplomats Seek Asylum


New Delhi — The Afghan embassy in India has suspended all its operations as its ambassador and several senior diplomats left the country to seek asylum in Europe and the United States, according to three embassy officials.

This development comes amid India’s refusal to recognize the Taliban government, which took control of Afghanistan in 2021.

Although India had closed its embassy in Kabul after the Taliban’s takeover, it had allowed the ambassador and mission staff appointed by the previous Western-backed Afghan government, led by ousted President Ashraf Ghani, to continue issuing visas and handle trade matters.

At least five Afghan diplomats have left India, according to embassy officials. In light of this, the Indian government will assume temporary control of the diplomatic compound, as confirmed by one of the Afghan officials.

Indian officials from the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi stated that they are investigating the situation but did not provide further details.

Taliban officials in Kabul have not yet commented on the development.

India is among the dozen countries that maintained a small mission in Kabul to facilitate trade, humanitarian aid, and medical support. Bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan reached $1.5 billion in 2019-2020 but significantly declined after the Taliban assumed power.

Earlier this month, hundreds of Afghan college students residing in India, despite their student visas having expired, staged a demonstration in New Delhi, urging the Indian government to extend their stay.

The departure of Afghan diplomats from India underscores the ongoing challenges and uncertainty faced by Afghan citizens and diplomatic representatives following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

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