The Afghan embassy in India took a significant step on Sunday as it officially stopped all of its operations, after the ambassador and several high-ranking diplomats, who sought asylum in Europe and the US, departed the country.
Over two years after the Taliban retook control of Kabul following the fall of the Western-backed government, most foreign nations, including India, still do not acknowledge Afghanistan's Taliban government as the de facto ruling authority, leaving many Afghan embassies and consulates hanging.
Additionally, at the time when the Taliban took over, diplomats appointed by the former government refused to cede control of embassy buildings and property.
"It is with profound sadness, regret, and disappointment that the Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi announces this decision to cease its operations," said an embassy statement posted on the social media platform X.
The statement continued to reveal that India will take control of the embassy in a caretaker capacity.
The unsigned statement claimed that maintaining operations had become "increasingly challenging" due to staff and resource reductions, including a "lack of timely and sufficient support from visa renewal for diplomats."
The decision to close followed rumours that the ambassador and other senior officials had just left India due to quarrels among those who remained in New Delhi, AFP reported.
The embassy asserted in its statement that it "categorically refutes any baseless claims regarding internal strife" among its employees and denied any diplomats were "using the crisis to seek asylum in a third country."
In August 2021, New Delhi evacuated its entire mission from Kabul due to Taliban attacks but returned a small team last year to reopen its embassy.
Howvever, most foreign nations withdrew diplomatic staff during this time and have not returned, but a few embassies, including Pakistan, China, and Russia, have ambassadors in Kabul.
Tens of thousands of Afghan nationals, including students, businessmen, and medical tourists, were left stranded after the Kabul power change.
While many did not prefer going back, including Afghan army cadet commanders who feared persecution, some went back and were encouraged by the Taliban leadership.
About a dozen Afghan embassies abroad, including those in Pakistan, China, Turkey, and Iran, are completely under the hands of the Taliban.
Meanwhile, others operate on a hybrid system, with the ambassador gone but embassy staff still carrying out routine consular work such as issuing visas and other documents, AFP reported.
In January last year, Italian police were called to Afghanistan's Rome embassy after scuffles broke out when a junior diplomat claimed he had been appointed by the Taliban's leaders to take over from an ambassador loyal to the former government.
Most senior Afghan foreign ministry officials are currently in Moscow attending a Russia-brokered conference on the country and were not available to comment on the closure of the embassy in New Delhi.
There was no immediate response from India.