Iran reduces diplomatic staff in Kabul

August 15, 2021 - 22:21

TEHRAN – Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said late on Sunday that Iran will reduce its diplomatic staff in Kabul.

Khatibzadeh also said the Iranian diplomats are in full safety and have no problems for travel to and from Iran.

He also said the five Iranian diplomatic missions in Afghanistan will follow their activities in Kabul.

Iran has consulates in Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Herat, and Kandahar.

Khatibzadeh said Iran’s consulates in in Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, and Kandahar have been doing their diplomatic activities in Kabul since a time ago.

Afghanistan’s government collapsed on Sunday with President Ashraf Ghani’s flight from the country and the Taliban’s entry into the capital, effectively sealing the Taliban’s control of the country after dozens of cities fell to their lightning advance.

On Sunday evening, former President Hamid Karzai announced on Twitter that he was forming a coordinating council together with Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the Afghan delegation to peace talks, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hesb-i-Islami party, to manage a peaceful transfer of power, according to the New York Times.

Karzai called on both government and Taliban forces to act with restraint.

At 6:30 p.m. local time, the Taliban issued a statement that their forces were moving into police districts in order to maintain security in areas that had been abandoned by the government security forces. Taliban fighters, meeting no resistance, took up positions in parts of the city, after Zabiullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban, posted the statement on Twitter.

“The Islamic Emirates ordered its forces to enter the areas of Kabul city from which the enemy has left because there is risk of theft and robbery,” the statement said. The Taliban had been ordered not to harm civilians and not to enter individual homes, it added. “Our forces are entering Kabul city with all caution.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal announced that an agreement had been made for a peaceful transfer of power for greater Kabul, and that his forces were maintaining security.

“The city’s security is guaranteed. There will be no attack on the city,” he said. “The agreement for greater Kabul city is that under an interim administration, God willing, power will be transferred.”

Mirzakwal later announced a 9 p.m. curfew in the capital, and called on its residents to go home.

Mr. Ghani left in a plane for Uzbekistan with his wife, Rula Ghani, and two close aides, according to a member of the Afghan delegation in Doha, Qatar, that has been in peace negotiations with the Taliban since last year. The official asked not to be named because he did not want to be identified speaking about the president’s movements.

In a Facebook video, Abdullah, former chief executive of the Afghan government, criticized Ghani for fleeing.

“That the former president of Afghanistan has left the country and its people in this bad situation, God will call him to account and the people of Afghanistan will make their judgment,” Abdullah said in the video.

In negotiations being managed by Abdullah, Ghani had been set to travel to Doha on Sunday with a larger group to negotiate the transfer of power, but flew instead to Uzbekistan, the peace delegation member said.

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