A picture of the Afghan embassy in New Delhi, India, 16 May 2023. EFE/INDIRA GUERRERO

Power struggle for control of Afghan embassy in India sparks political drama

By Indira Guerrero

New Delhi/Kabul, May 16 (EFE). – A clash between officials at the Afghan embassy in New Delhi has sparked a political drama inside the diplomatic headquarters, which has been in limbo for the past 20 months after the Taliban returned to power, with the ambassador clinging to his post despite the fall of the old government.

The struggle for control of the Afghan embassy in New Delhi began last month, but came out in public this week when Indian and Afghan media claimed that an Afghan diplomat, who was already part of the mission, had taken control of the mission with the backing of the Taliban authorities.

This marks the dismissal of Ambassador Farid Mamudzay, a representative of the previous Afghan government under Ashraf Ghani, whose government fell nearly two years ago when he fled Kabul in the face of an imminent Taliban victory.

The diplomatic mission, located near the United States embassy in the Indian capital, was found to be closed on Tuesday because there was reportedly no one inside, a security official told EFE just outside the premises.

“There are no officials, no secretary, no consul or ambassador,” added the security guard, who asked visitors to “come back tomorrow, between 10 in the morning and 5 in the evening.”

The embassy statement by Mamudzay overnight claimed there had been no change of leadership in the mission and everything continued as normal.

A diplomatic official based in New Delhi told EFE under anonymity that an uprising was being led by “an adviser” who accused the ambassador and collaborators of having made corrupt deals with businessmen in India.

Since the arrival of the Taliban government, the embassies that did not surrender before them remained in operation with no direct relationship with their Foreign Ministry, using the reserves they had until the takeover of Kabul on Aug.15, 2021.

The Taliban, without international recognition and under sanctions that prevent them from accessing Afghanistan’s currency reserves, have no formally recognized ambassadors in any country.

The Taliban’s Foreign Ministry continued to give directions to all Afghan missions abroad, however most of them chose to ignore the new authorities on the grounds that they only responded to the deposed democratic government.

However, the fundamentalists have appointed envoys in several nations, including Qatar, Iran, Pakistan and Russia.

An Indian government official, who asked not to be named, told EFE that they were aware of “differences” between the embassy officials and the Taliban authorities, but it was an “internal issue” of the mission. EFE