Hundreds of Afghan diplomats throughout the world are in limbo as a result of the Taliban’s sudden return to power: they’re out of money to keep their missions running, they’re worried about their families back home, and they’re desperate to find safety abroad.
On Tuesday, the Islamist militant outfit that overthrew Afghanistan’s Western-backed government announced it had delivered messages to all of its embassies instructing ambassadors to continue their duties.
However, eight embassy employees in nations like as Canada, Germany, and Japan who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity revealed dysfunction and despair at their posts.
“My colleagues here and in many places are appealing with host countries to accept them,” one Afghan ambassador in Berlin said, adding that he was afraid of what would happen to his wife and four daughters who remained in Kabul if his name was used.
According to Afzal Ashraf, an international relations expert and visiting fellow at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, Afghanistan’s overseas missions are in a state of “prolonged limbo” as governments determine whether or not to recognize the Taliban.
“What are the options for those embassies? They don’t speak for the government. They don’t have a policy to put into place “He went on to say that embassy workers would most likely be given political asylum if they returned to Afghanistan owing to safety concerns.
At a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday, Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, said the Taliban had sent signals to all Afghan embassies urging them to continue working.
“Afghanistan has put a lot of money into you; you are Afghanistan’s assets,” he remarked.
According to one top Afghan diplomat, over 3,000 Afghans work in or are directly dependent on the country’s embassies.
On Sept. 8, the overthrown administration of ousted president Ashraf Ghani wrote a letter to foreign missions, declaring the Taliban’s new government “illegitimate” and urged embassies to “perform their normal operations and obligations.”