Taliban suspends Afghan consular services in Vienna and London

Suspends services for lack of transparency, coordination

Afghanistan embassy Spain

The Taliban are suspending consular services at two Afghan embassies, London and Vienna, over their lack of transparency and cooperation with authorities in Kabul, a foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday. Most of Afghanistan's embassies and consulates are staffed by people from the former Western-backed administration, with around a dozen under the Taliban administration's full control.

Some countries retain an active diplomatic mission in Afghanistan, including Pakistan, Turkiye, Qatar, and China, but the international community remains wary of officially recognising the Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan.

“The suspension of consular services at the two embassies is with immediate effect and until further notice,” foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said. The services affected include the issue and extension of passports and visas.

When asked if the ministry was looking at the activities of more embassies, Balkhi said yes as it was a normal ministry procedure. The development comes days after the Afghan embassies in Spain and the Netherlands issued statements emphasising their coordination and interaction with Taliban authorities in Kabul.

A voice note from the ministry's deputy spokesperson Zia Ahmad Takal described the Netherlands' statement as a positive step for Afghans because all consular services or embassy matters would have a direct connection with Kabul.

“The salaries and expenses of employees, officials and diplomats will be paid by the Afghan government,” said Takal.

India said last week that the Afghan Embassy in the capital New Delhi continues to function, despite diplomatic staff saying it was closing due to a lack of diplomatic support in India and the absence of a recognised government in Kabul.

The Taliban have sent diplomats to at least 14 countries and efforts are underway to take charge of other diplomatic missions abroad, according to remarks made in March this year by their chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.


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