Afghan envoys marooned overseas after Taliban’s sudden return

The Taliban’s abrupt return to energy has left a whole bunch of Afghan diplomats abroad in limbo: operating out of cash to maintain missions working, fearful for households again residence and determined to safe refuge overseas.

The militant motion, which swiftly ousted Afghanistan’s Western-backed authorities on Aug. 15, mentioned on Tuesday that it had despatched messages to all of its embassies telling diplomats to proceed their work.

However eight embassy employees who spoke to Reuters on situation of anonymity, in international locations together with Canada, Germany and Japan, described dysfunction and despair at their missions.

“My colleagues right here and in lots of international locations are pleading with host nations to just accept them,” mentioned an Afghan diplomat in Berlin, who mentioned he feared what would possibly occur to his spouse and 4 daughters who stay in Kabul if he allowed his title for use.

“I’m actually begging. Diplomats are keen to develop into refugees,” he mentioned, including he must promote all the things, together with a big home in Kabul, and “begin yet again”.

Afghanistan’s missions abroad face a interval of “extended limbo” as international locations determine whether or not to recognise the Taliban, mentioned Afzal Ashraf, a global relations skilled and visiting fellow at Britain’s College of Nottingham.

“What can these embassies do? They do not symbolize a authorities. They do not have a coverage to implement,” he mentioned, including that embassy employees would doubtless be granted political asylum attributable to security issues in the event that they returned to Afghanistan.

The Taliban, who enforced a strict interpretation of Islamic regulation with punishments like amputations and stonings throughout their earlier rule from 1996 to 2001, have sought to indicate a extra conciliatory face since coming again to energy.

Spokespeople have reassured Afghans that they aren’t out for revenge and can respect folks’s rights, together with ladies’s.

However stories of house-to-house searches and reprisals in opposition to former officers and ethnic minorities have made folks cautious. The Taliban have vowed to analyze any abuses.

A gaggle of envoys from the deposed authorities issued a first-of-its-kind joint assertion, reported by Reuters on Wednesday forward of its public launch, calling on world leaders to disclaim the Taliban formal recognition.


Afghanistan’s performing international minister Amir Khan Muttaqi informed a information convention in Kabul on Tuesday that the Taliban had despatched messages to all Afghan embassies telling them to proceed work.

“Afghanistan invested in you numerous, you’re belongings of Afghanistan,” he mentioned.

One senior Afghan diplomat estimated there have been round 3,000 folks both working within the nation’s embassies or straight depending on them.

Ousted president Ashraf Ghani’s toppled administration additionally penned a letter to international missions on Sept. 8 calling the Taliban’s new authorities “illegitimate” and urging embassies to “proceed their regular features and duties”.

However these requires continuity don’t replicate the chaos on the bottom, embassy employees mentioned.

“There isn’t a cash. It isn’t attainable to function in such circumstances. I’m not being paid now,” a supply on the Afghan embassy in Canada’s capital Ottawa mentioned.

Two Afghan embassy staffers in New Delhi mentioned they have been additionally operating out of money for a mission serving 1000’s of Afghans who’re looking for methods residence to reunite with households or need assistance making use of for asylum in different international locations.

Each staffers mentioned they’d not return to Afghanistan for worry of being focused attributable to their connections to the earlier authorities, however would additionally battle to get asylum in India the place 1000’s of Afghans have spent years in search of refugee standing.

“I’ve to simply sit tight for now within the embassy premises and wait to exit to any nation that’s keen to just accept me and my household,” one mentioned.


A few of Afghanistan’s envoys have brazenly criticised the Taliban.

Manizha Bakhtari, the nation’s Austria ambassador, recurrently posts allegations of human rights abuses by the Taliban on Twitter, whereas China envoy Javid Ahmad Qaem warned in opposition to believing Taliban guarantees on extremist teams.

Others are mendacity low, hoping that their host international locations won’t rush to recognise the group and put them in danger.

A number of Afghan diplomats mentioned they’d be carefully watching the annual assembly of world leaders on the United Nations in New York subsequent week the place there’s uncertainty over who will fill Afghanistan’s seat.

United Nations credentials give weight to a authorities, and nobody has but formally claimed Afghanistan’s seat. Any transfer seen as legitimising the Taliban would possibly empower the group to switch embassy employees with their very own, the diplomats mentioned.

In Tajikistan, some embassy employees managed to convey their households throughout the border in current weeks and they’re contemplating changing the embassy into residential premises to accommodate them, a senior diplomat there mentioned.

And, like friends unfold out throughout the globe, they haven’t any plans to return residence with the Taliban again in energy.

“It’s totally clear that not a single Afghan diplomat posted abroad needs to return,” mentioned a senior Afghan diplomat in Japan. “We’re all decided to remain the place we’re and perhaps many international locations will settle for we’re part of a authorities that’s in exile.”

Leave a Comment