Update: Taliban takes control of Afghan embassy in Tehran, Istanbul
Iran said it had not handed the embassy over to the Taliban and that control of the diplomatic office was an 'internal matter'
By News Desk - February 27 2023

Officials from the Taliban-led interim Afghanistan government. (Photo credit: AFP)

Diplomats of the Islamic Emirate restarted official activities in Afghanistan’s consulate in Istanbul, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday, 27 February,

“The Foreign Ministry clarifies that on Monday, the diplomats of the foreign ministry in Istanbul of Turkiye resumed their work officially,” said Zia Ahmad Takal, deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

The Taliban-led government’s resumption of services in Istanbul came one day after it appointed new diplomatic staff for the country’s embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran.

“Fazel Ahmed Haqqani appointed chargé d’affaires of the Afghan embassy in Tehran, and his team has taken possession of the embassy in Iran today,” Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Along with the new ambassador, the Taliban-led government dispatched seven individuals to Tehran to assist their people, who currently number 3.6 million and have been living as refugees in Iran for decades.

Diplomats appointed by the US-backed government overthrown by the Taliban in August 2021 had been working in the embassy until recently, but ambassador Abdul Qayyum Soleimani and his team allegedly chose to abandon their positions after the hardline group seized control of the embassy.

The change in personnel at the embassy was praised by the new Afghan government as “a legitimate right of any country” and was noted as “an essential step in bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Iran.”

“Transferring the embassies or consulates of Iran and Turkiye … means the strengthening of relations, and it also means the unannounced recognition of the Islamic Emirate,” said Aziz Maarij, a former diplomat.

Afghan opposition organizations criticized Iran for “enabling” the Taliban to seize control of the embassy and warned that the action would place Afghans who had sought refuge in Iran from the hardline group in danger.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government said it had not handed the embassy over to the Taliban.

“Iran has not been involved in any way in the changes at the Afghan embassy,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“These issues are Afghanistan’s internal affairs,” the country’s diplomacy stressed.

Last week, Afghanistan’s government set up a consortium of companies, some of which are located in Russia, Iran, and Pakistan, to develop the country’s economy, according to a report published by Reuters.

The Taliban administration is seeking to create an investment plan for sectors in energy, mining, and infrastructure, according to Nooruddin Azizi, the Afghan Minster of Commerce and Industry.

Azizi told Reuters that the consortium is made up of 14 Afghan businessmen and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the foreign companies who will consider an investment of up to $1 billion in their upcoming visit to Kabul.

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