In a significant development, Afghanistan has officially announced the permanent closure of its embassy in New Delhi, pointing to persistent pressure from both the Taliban and the Indian government. The embassy’s statement, released on November 23, 2023, disclosed that the decision is a culmination of broader changes in policy and interests.
The embassy had initially ceased operations on September 30, citing a “lack of support” from the Indian government, unmet expectations, and resource and personnel shortages. The announcement expressed hope that the Indian government’s stance would change favorably to allow the mission to operate normally, but this did not materialize.
The statement highlighted India’s role as a “steadfast strategic partner” since 2001 and justified the closure as being in the best interest of Afghanistan. Notably, there are no diplomats from the Afghan Republic in India, with those who served having safely relocated to third countries. The individuals currently present in India are affiliated with the Taliban, attending their regular online meetings.
The embassy concluded by placing the responsibility of deciding the mission’s fate on the Indian government. It urged a consideration of alternatives, including the possibility of handing over custodial authority to Taliban diplomats. Despite challenges, the statement expressed gratitude to the people of India for their support over the past 22 years and affirmed a commitment to exploring avenues to assist Afghanistan in these testing times.