July 13, 2024

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s External Affairs Ministry is examining a letter from the Afghan Embassy that says it plans to cease all operations in the Indian capital by Saturday, an official said Friday.

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.

To date, 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.

However, the Afghan ambassador has been out of India for several months and a steady stream of diplomats has departed for third countries, reportedly after receiving asylum, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

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

Afghan embassy officials in New Delhi couldn’t be reached on Friday.

The Afghan media outlet TOLO said it had obtained the letter detailing the embassy’s grievances conveyed to the Indian External Affairs ministry.

The letter said the embassy’s decision to permanently cease all operations by the end of September stems from its inability to maintain normal functioning due to “the absence of diplomatic consideration and systematic support” from the Indian External Affairs Ministry.

Last year India sent relief material, including wheat, medicines, COVID-19 vaccines and winter clothing to Afghanistan to help with shortages there.

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

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