Embassy staff from several countries including India, the UK and Greece said the missions were running on “low capacity” due to lack of money and resources since the Taliban returned to power.

Afghanistan’s diplomats say the Taliban’s return to power last month has disrupted the financial flow to keep overseas missions operating.

Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi told a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday that all of Afghanistan’s embassies operating abroad have been told to continue their operations.

But several embassy staff in countries including the UK, Qatar, India and Greece, who spoke to TRT World on condition of anonymity, said the missions were running on “low capacity”, due to lack of money and resources.

Sources said that the Afghan Embassy in the UK is downsizing to help the ambassador’s role and the consular section only. Some local staff were already relieved of their duties.

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One Afghan embassy staffer in India’s New Delhi said they continued issuing passports and were also helping Afghans return, but the embassy was running out of cash.

The mission has stopped issuing visas to Afghanistan since the new Taliban government was announced earlier this month.

Last week the embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi said in a statement that it refuses to recognise the Taliban government and will continue to represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

One embassy staffer in Qatar said they were running short of ordinary passport booklets and were unable to process applications for it. He explained that those booklets were currently not being printed.

The staffer also said that some embassy officials had left the country to seek asylum elsewhere as they were not willing to return to Afghanistan for fear of being targeted.

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Hameed Hakimi, a research associate at London’s Chatham House think tank, explained that the embassies need to receive financial support from Afghanistan’s ministry of foreign affairs for operational and personnel costs and the Taliban’s return to power has disrupted the financial flow.

“It is highly unlikely in my opinion that Afghan embassies will remain open and functional without funding from Kabul; if the Taliban are not recognised by the international community then it’s unfeasible for Afghan embassies to represent a non-existent Ghani administration or an unrecognised Taliban regime,” Hakimi said.

As of now, all of Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions abroad, as well as its mission to the UN, still fly the flag of the Afghan republic.

“Many Afghan ambassadors have remained quiet, keeping a low profile and exploring ways to relocate their families. A significant majority of key senior staff at various directorates of the Afghan ministry of foreign affairs have left the country,” Hakimi said.

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With a new government in place, the Taliban are pushing for international recognition of their reinstated Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, but so far no nation has granted such recognition.

There is uncertainty over who will fill Afghanistan’s seat for the 76th General Assembly session at the United Nations in New York next week, which no one has yet formally claimed.

UN credentials give weight to a government around the world.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s national security adviser called on the world to “engage” with the Taliban’s government, as world powers are yet to decide on whether and under what conditions to recognise the new government.

Only three countries officially granted the Taliban regime diplomatic recognition during their rule between 1996 to 2001: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The previous mujahideen government under Burhanuddin Rabbani who served as President of Afghanistan from 1992 to 2001 (in exile from 1996 to 2001) retained the country’s UN seat and other embassies.

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The Consul General of Afghanistan in New York continued to issue Afghan passports on behalf of the Rabbani government during that time.

But the Taliban government was also issuing passports from Pakistan, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia. The group also reportedly issued passports from an informal office in New York under the “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.

Hakimi explains that if the recognition of the Taliban regime does not materialise, and funding as well as resident permits in respective host countries become problematic, Afghan embassies across many countries including the western world will face closure.

“This will of course present large segments of Afghan diaspora populations in many countries a huge challenge to access formal consular services for essential documents,” he said.

Source: TRT World



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