Days After Afghan Embassy Reopens, India Breaks Silence, Says It's ‘Functional’

New Delhi: Breaking the silence after months of imbroglio and confusion, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Thursday said that the Embassy of Afghanistan is “functional” and that it will provide services to the Afghan nationals residing in India. At the same time, the government sought to downplay the allegations being made by the former Ambassador of Afghanistan to India Farid Mamundzay when he announced the shutting down of the Embassy permanently last month.

Thereafter, the Embassy was reopened by the Afghan Consuls General of Mumbai and Hyderabad by hoisting the former Afghan tricolour flag, representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as opposed to the white flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan of the Taliban regime, bearing the ‘Shahada’.

“As per our understanding, The Afghan Embassy in New Delhi and the consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad are functional. You can see from the flag who they represent. Our position on recognition of the entities has not changed,” Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs said Thursday at a media briefing, hinting at the fact that the Taliban has not been recognised by New Delhi.

He also said that the two Afghan diplomats running the Embassy currently will continue to provide services to the Afghan nationals who are living in India.

This comes after months of controversy surrounding the operations of the Embassy of Afghanistan that peaked earlier this year. While the Embassy has been functioning since August 2021 post the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, matters began to spiral out of control when a former diplomat of the Embassy of Afghanistan Qadir Shah accused Mamundzay of not performing his duties as an ambassador due to his prolonged absence from New Delhi and also mismanagement of funds.

At that time the MEA called it to be a matter of “internal conflict” and the issue concerning Shah, who was accused of siding with the Taliban by Mamundzay, was brushed under the carpet.

Eventually, in October, Mamundzay and some of the other diplomats, who are believed to be against the Taliban said that they would close the Embassy down due to non-cooperation by New Delhi. Finally, in November he announced that the Embassy would shut down completely while they all left India to settle in the US, Canada and Mexico.

In his note verbale before announcing the closing down of the Embassy, Mamundzay said that the Indian government has accorded “de facto recognition” to the Taliban government in Kabul.

He even called the Consul General of Mumbai Zakia Wardak and the Consul General of Hyderabad Sayed Mohammad Ibrahimkhil to be “Taliban-appointed and affiliated diplomats.”

“As of now, there are no diplomats from the Afghan Republic remaining in India. Those who served the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan have safely reached third countries. The only individuals present in India are diplomats affiliated with the Taliban, visibly attending their regular online meetings,” the note verbale said.

These allegations were vehemently refuted by Wardak and Ibrahimkhil who said they reopened the Embassy after consulting the MEA and that they will continue to provide services to the Afghan nationals.

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