Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions abroad are grappling with financial and administrative issues, as well as pressure from the Taliban, and potential solutions include international assistance, negotiation, building internal legitimacy, coordination with international bodies, and support from the Afghan diaspora.
The Taliban suspended consular services at the Afghan embassies of London and Vienna, alleging “lack of transparency and cooperation” with authorities in Kabul thus halting visa and passport processes in both countries. Afghanistan’s ambassador in Vienna, Manizha Bakhtari explained that the embassy’s position toward the Taliban’s policies earned them increased scrutiny however, the embassy continues to refuse to engage. “Afghanistan’s embassy in Vienna has been under severe pressure by the Taliban because of taking a steady position and actions against the Taliban’s policies at international conferences,” she said. She said that the Taliban hopes that the Afghan embassy in Vienna will collapse under the pressure.
The Taliban’s move to invalidate the embassies’ activities is now forcing other embassies to choose between engaging with the Taliban or shutting down their operations. Most of these embassies were staffed by the Afghan republic before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Afghan embassies in Spain and the Netherlands issued statements highlighting their coordination and interaction with Taliban authorities in Kabul. Sources claim that although the Taliban demands influence and authority over these consulates, they provide little support to them.
Over a dozen countries maintain active diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, including Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Russia, and China. In March this year the Taliban made efforts to increase their diplomatic missions. “The Islamic Emirate has sent diplomats to at least 14 countries and efforts are underway to take charge of other diplomatic missions abroad,” the government’s main spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a video.
The wider international community remains wary of officially recognizing the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan as their continued restrictions on women and girls garner international condemnation.
Sources: ABC, AP News, and Amu