On the night of Saturday, the Afghanistan Embassy in India announced ceasing its operation from October 1, citing multiple reasons that include lack of support from the host government, inability to meet expectations of the Afghanistan interests and lack of personnel and resources.
The declaration was made after two years of the Taliban taking over the government and setting up a new regime.
The decision was taken after careful thought and considering the long-standing friendship and relations between Afghanistan and India.
In the given circumstances, the decision to cease all the operations of the embassy was taken with a heavy heart except for providing emergency services to the citizens of Afghanistan till the transfer of custodial authority to the host country.
In its statement, the embassy said this step is taken in the best interest of the people of Afghanistan.
Why did the operation cease in India?
The embassy cited the following factors affecting the ability to continue their mission and the fundamental reason for the unfortunate closure-
- Lack of Support from India
The embassy states that the support required to perform their duties effectively is absent from the host government.
“The Embassy has experienced a notable absence of crucial support from the host government, which has hindered our ability to carry out our duties effectively,” the statement said.
It was claimed that this lack of support is an obstacle to carrying out the duties.
The Indian government has not yet reacted to these allegations.
- Failure to Serve Afghan’s Interest
The Embassy issued an “Unequivocal declaration” claiming that certain consulates operating under Kabul’s direction and funding do not advance the goals of an elected or legitimate government, but rather represent the interests of an “illegitimate regime”.
The embassy representative in his statement highlighted that “Such activities, conducted independently, are contrary to the established norms of diplomatic representation.”
The embassy acknowledged that it had failed to serve the best interests of Afghanistan and its citizens.
- Shortage of Personnel and Resources
It was claimed that uncertainty of events in the past has resulted in a shortage of staff and resources, making it difficult for them to carry on with routine business.
“The lack of timely and sufficient support from visa renewal for diplomats to other critical areas of cooperation led to an understandable frustration among our team and impeded our ability to carry out routine duties effectively,” the statement read.
According to Article 45 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), all of the Embassy’s assets and facilities would be turned over to the host nation’s custody.
The closure of operations is considered to be temporary and not permanent as the mission requested the Indian government to consider 4 requests outlined in the official note, including the hoisting of Afghanistan’s flag over the properties of premises as well as facilitating the transition of the mission’s building and assets to the legitimate government in the future.
In this light, Bhaswati Mukherjee, former Indian envoy to the Netherlands commented that Afghanistan may appoint new ambassadors and some new staff and the embassy is not going to be closed permanently.
She also emphasized that Afghanistan will face consequences as many Afghan citizens visit India for medical purposes.
The Afghan representative and diplomats also expressed their sincere appreciation to the citizens of India and the government for their support and help to Afghanistan over the previous 22 years.