New Delhi [India]: Following the closure of the Afghan embassy in India, Bhaswati Mukherjee, former Indian envoy to the Netherlands said that the decision to shut down the embassy is not because of India.
“I presume that the decision to shut down the embassy is really not because of India, but because of internal problems within the Afghanistan embassy here, triggered by the new government in Kabul, which is completely opposed to the earlier government.
That is the real reason, in my perspective, for the closure of the Afghan embassy,” said Mukherjee.
She further highlighted the issue of a shortage of funds and lack of resources for the closure of the Afghanistan embassy in India.
“I presume they must be also having a shortage of funds because running an embassy, I can tell you, having been an ambassador is a very expensive business. You have to pay for electricity, water and so many other expenses. You have to pay the salaries of your local employees. If you want to run your car, you have to pay for the petrol, even if it is duty-free.”
Underlining the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, she noted that the decision was triggered by internal Afghan politics.
“After the Taliban took over power in Kabul, they sent their own people here. However, the Taliban government has not been recognized by any government so far, including India. In the meantime, the earlier ambassador left India and is presently in exile in some country,” she said.
Earlier today, the Afghan Embassy in India, announced the closure of its operations citing “lack of resources” and “failure to meet Afghanistan’s interests” by the Taliban regime.
The Embassy also made an “unequivocal statement” stating that certain consulates that work on the instruction and funding from Kabul are not in consonance with the objectives of a legitimate or elected government, but rather serve the interests of an “illegitimate regime”.
Adding to this, she said that the other Afghan diplomats who had been sent by the earlier government also sought exile and left India, whereas, the remaining are having some internal problems with the people sent by the present government.
She further said that India cannot get involved in their internal politics. “The non-cooperation, I think, is because they expected us to intervene in favour of one faction or another faction. But, it is not possible for India to get involved in their internal politics,” said the former Indian envoy.
Mukherjee also noted that India has limited diplomatic contacts with the new Taliban government.
“There is also the question of the security of our own people who are in Kabul. So under those circumstances, remaining neutral and out of their internal problems was probably the wise decision to take,” she said.
Furthermore, she emphasized that Afghanistan may appoint new ambassadors and some new staff and the embassy is not going to be closed permanently.
“This Afghan embassy may be temporary. It may be that they will find some way out and they will appoint some new ambassadors and some new staff. So I think it is the beginning of a new process. It’s not going to be closed permanently,” she said.
Mukherjee, however, emphasized that Afghans will face consequences of the closure of the embassy as many of them come to India for medical treatment.
“Many Afghans come here for serious medical problems, dialysis, kidney, and organ transplants, cardiac problems, etc. They can still avail of the services that we have given them in Kabul and they can come,” she said.
Highlighting that India would welcome good relations with Afghanistan, she said, “If they choose to open an embassy, it would have to be negotiated because the government in power in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is not recognized by the UN and is not recognized by any country, so it would have to be an informal arrangement.”
“But, I don’t think that this is a permanent decision to close the embassy,” she added.
Earlier in the day, the Afghan Embassy said in a statement, “It is with profound sadness, regret, and disappointment that the Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi announces this decision to cease its operations.
This decision, while deeply regrettable, is made after careful consideration, taking into account the historic ties and longstanding partnership between Afghanistan and India.”
The Embassy further stated that in accordance with Article 45 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), all property and facilities of the Embassy will be transferred to the custodial authority of the host country.
Meanwhile, the Afghan ambassador and the embassy’s diplomats also extended their heartfelt gratitude to the people of India for their support and to the Government of India for their assistance to Afghanistan over the past 22 years.