Taliban Closes London And Vienna Afghan Embassies

A minority of Taliban officials run Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions abroad, but the Taliban government is in complete control of about a dozen embassies and consulates.

A spokeswoman for Afghanistan’s foreign ministry has confirmed that the Taliban have ordered the closure of their embassies in London and Vienna, thus ending consular services in those cities. This decision was made because of concerns over the embassies’ lack of openness and collaboration with Kabul officials.

Several countries have diplomatic posts in Afghanistan, including Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar, and China. The international world remains wary of formally recognizing the Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate authorities, though.

Recent announcements from the Afghan embassies in Spain and the Netherlands have highlighted coordination and interaction with Taliban leadership in Kabul, so this new development makes sense in that context.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said that consular services at the two embassies would be suspended immediately and indefinitely. Passport and visa issuance and renewal are among the services that will be interrupted.

Balkhi claims that the ministry is following its usual operating procedure and investigating the actions of other embassies.

According to Zia Ahmad Takal, the ministry’s deputy spokeswoman, Afghans see the statement from the Netherlands favorably. This is because of the new, direct line of communication between Kabul and the embassies and consulates in that city.

According to Takal, the Afghan government will cover all costs of paying its employees, officials, and ambassadors.

Indian officials have insisted all week that the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi is open, despite reports from diplomats that the embassy is closed due to a lack of diplomatic support in India and the absence of a recognized government in Kabul.

According to Taliban top spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s March 2018 statement, the group has dispatched diplomats to at least 14 nations and is actively attempting to seize control of more diplomatic offices abroad.