Taliban appoints new Afghan ambassador, MEA says no formal notice received

There are also concerns about how India would react if a Taliban-approved dispensation at the Afghan Embassy in Delhi were to act against Afghans in India

BS Web Team New Delhi
The discussions in Doha, Qatar, covered the need for safe passage of U.S. citizens, other foreign nationals and Afghan partners, State Department spokesman Ned Price said. (Photo: Bloomberg)

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The Taliban regime in Afghanistan’s move to recall Afghan Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay and name the current Trade Counsellor, Qadir Shah, as the Charge D’Affaires (acting ambassador) in his place has presented a difficult choice for the government’s approach to the country’s situation and its engagement with the Taliban.
The feud between the two became public on Sunday when Afghan media published a letter from Afghans living in India accusing the present ambassador and other officials of corruption.

In response, Mamundzay, the ambassador in India since 2020 and now based in Delhi, released a letter dismissing the charges as “one-sided, biased, and untrue”. He also blamed the “collapse of the democratic system” in Afghanistan for the “extreme problems” that Afghans face outside their countries.
However, unrest has been simmering within the embassy for the past month, after the Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA)’s human resources director sent a letter on April 25, summoning Mamundzay and directing him to report to it in Kabul.

On the same day, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi issued an order directing Trade Counsellor Shah to “supervise affairs at the Afghanistan Embassy in Delhi, India” and report to the Kabul government.
The decision appeared to resemble what the Taliban did in China in April 2022, when the current ambassador resigned after the Taliban chose another senior diplomat to serve in the Beijing Embassy.

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Shah stated that he was not affiliated with any “political party, group, or movement” and that he believed the MoFA in Kabul had expressed a desire to nominate an officer to address “complaints against embassy officials of corruption and non-performance of their official duties” in its communication.
He further emphasised that he was a diplomat appointed by the pre-Taliban “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” and an official of Afghanistan’s MoFA.

The Ministry of External Affairs has so far declined to comment on the Taliban decision, claiming that it has not yet received formal notice of the change and that it is an “internal” matter for the embassy.

First Published: May 15 2023 | 3:37 PM IST

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