The Afghan embassy in India, headed by an appointee of the pre-Taliban Ashraf Ghani government, seems to have decided to “permanently” wind up its operations, citing lack of funds and absence of support from the Indian government.
The decision was apparently communicated to the external affairs ministry by the mission earlier this week, according to a note verbale (NV) that is circulating online. The ministry has not officially commented on the development till Friday night. A source said: “The authenticity of the communication and its contents are being examined.”
Also, it was pointed out that ambassador Farid Mamundzay has been out of the country for the “past many months” and the mission has seen the “steady departure of diplomats to third countries reportedly after receiving asylum, as well as reports of infighting amongst embassy personnel”.
Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in mid-August 2021, India — like much of the rest of the world — has cut off diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, maintaining only a technical office at the mission there.
In May, there was a tussle in the mission in Delhi between Mamundzay and his deputy Qurban Shah, who was appointed charge d’ affaires by the Taliban dispensation. Mamundzay, who was in London then, stepped in to assert control, maintaining that he was the one recognised as Afghan ambassador by India.
Subsequently, his absence from the mission since June set off speculation about his fate in August. But Mamundzay issued a statement clarifying that he was out of the country for personal reasons and would return. This time, 24 hours after the NV has been in circulation, he has remained silent.
In the NV, the mission — largely peopled by appointees of the Ghani government — expressed disappointment with the Indian government. “This decision (to close operations) stems from our inability to maintaining normal functioning due to absence of diplomatic consideration and systemic support,” the mission said, listing at least 10 NVs which drew no response from the ministry.
“Neither the Strategic Partnership Agreement nor other bilateral agreements have been given due consideration since the tragic collapse of the Afghan republic.”
Also, according to the NV, the mission’s significance “has been systematically diminished”.