Afghan Embassy closes in India citing a lack of diplomatic support and personnel

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NEW DELHI (AP) — The Afghan Embassy said it is closing in New Delhi from Sunday due to a lack of diplomatic support in India and the absence of a recognized government in Kabul.

But it will continue to provide emergency consular services to Afghan nationals, it said in a statement.

"There has been a significant reduction in both personnel and resources available to us, making it increasingly challenging to continue operations,” the statement said.

India has not recognized the Taliban government, which seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021. It evacuated its own staff from Kabul ahead of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan two years ago and no longer has a diplomatic presence there.

The Afghan Embassy in New Delhi has been run by staff appointed by the previous government of ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, with permission from the Indian authorities.

There was no immediate comment by India’s External Affairs Ministry, but an official said last week that the Afghan ambassador left India several months ago and other Afghan diplomats have departed for third countries reportedly after receiving asylum.

India has said it will follow the lead of the United Nations in deciding whether to recognize the Taliban government.

The Afghan Embassy statement said that it wanted to reach an agreement with the Indian government to ensure that the interests of Afghans living, working, studying and doing business in India are safeguarded.

Afghans account for around one-third of the nearly 40,000 refugees registered in India, according to the U.N. refugee agency. But that figure excludes those who are not registered with the U.N.

Last year, India sent relief materials, including wheat, medicine, COVID-19 vaccines and winter clothes to Afghanistan to help with shortages there.

In June last year, India sent a team of officials to its embassy in Kabul.