United States Closes Afghanistan Embassy And Withdraws Diplomatic Privileges

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162,000 US based Afghans now without official representation

The United States government has informed Afghanistan’s diplomats in the country that they will shut down the embassy in Washington and the consulate missions in Los Angeles and New York.

The Afghan diplomats will also be stripped of their diplomatic immunity. Washington’s move comes less than six months after the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.

The Taliban have not been recognized by much of the international community, including the United States. However, Norway hosted the Taliban this week for meetings with Western officials, where the United States, UK, Norway, France, Germany, Italy and the EU met with the Taliban in Oslo.

Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani saw his government collapse on August 15 last year after he fled the country and the Afghan security forces failed to prevent the Taliban from taking over.

But the diplomats at the Afghan Embassy in Washington have refused to acknowledge the Taliban and rebuffed all of the group’s attempts of opening lines of communication with them. The staff were politically on the same side as the American position. Their fate upon being repatriated to Kabul remains unclear.

The move will see no official representation for Afghani citizens in the United States, which has a diaspora of about 182,000 Afghans in the country, including 76,000 who were repatriated to the US in the wake of the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping in his address to this week’s China + Central Asia meeting has criticized the US handling of the Afghan situation, saying that Washington is looking to place blame elsewhere, while calling on the international community to provide humanitarian assistance. China, together with Russia and other Central Asian countries is monitoring the security situation  in Afghanistan through the military division of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

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Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists British and Foreign Investment into Asia and has 28 offices throughout China, India, the ASEAN nations and Russia. For strategic and business intelligence concerning China’s Belt & Road Initiative please email silkroad@dezshira.com or visit us at www.dezshira.com