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The Consuls General of Afghanistan in Mumbai and Hyderabad have declared that they will remain open and functional, despite the announcement of their closure by Farid Mamundzay, the ousted government’s Ambassador to India, who referred to the Consuls General as representatives of the Taliban. It has been reported that the Indian government is considering three key indicators that do not amount to de facto recognition of the Taliban regime by India.

Firstly, the new leadership team will continue to fly the flag of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, rather than the Taliban white flag with the Shahada inscription in black at the center.

Secondly, the embassy will continue to use the name of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and not the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which is the Taliban’s preferred name. These details will be included in their official communication with the Indian government, such as the note verbale and other stationery.

Thirdly, new diplomats from the Taliban are not being sent to join the Afghan embassy in New Delhi, or the consulates in Mumbai and Hyderabad.

India’s redlines have also been communicated to the new leadership team by South Block, and the Afghan Consuls General have assured officials in the Ministry of External Affairs that they will adhere to these guidelines.

The Indian government is following the same approach as the international community, engaging with the Taliban but not granting them official recognition as per the UN.

This issue became particularly important after Afghanistan’s Consul General in Mumbai, Zakia Wardak, and Acting Consul General in Hyderabad, Sayed Mohammad Ibrahimkhil, issued a statement on November 24, confirming that the embassy in Delhi will continue to function as usual and there will be no disruption in the provision of consular services. This statement came after Mamundzay announced the permanent closure of the embassy in Delhi.

Over the past two years, Mamundzay and his team of 28 diplomats have left the country one by one and sought asylum in the West. Mamundzay had reached out to all major Western embassies after the Taliban seized Kabul, expressing the need for asylum for their diplomats. He left India for the UK in June this year and has not returned.

The Indian establishment is now facing a situation where two diplomats, the Afghan Consul General in Mumbai, Wardak, and the Consul General in Hyderabad, Ibrahimkhil, who were appointed by the previous Ashraf Ghani government, have chosen to remain in India and have now volunteered to take on the leadership role in running the Afghan mission.

As Afghan nationals in India require assistance with consular services such as passport renewal and visa extension, the two diplomats are engaging with the Taliban-run Foreign Ministry in Kabul and the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi for these matters. India has been cautious, refraining from labeling them as Taliban representatives as long as they adhere to the commitment of flying the Afghan Republic’s tricolour flag and not changing the name of the Afghan embassy and consulates in India.

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