Saudi diplomats' exit from Kabul sparks fears of exodus

Saudi Arabia Flag [Photo for only Representational Purpose]
Saudi Arabia Flag [Photo for only Representational Purpose]File/ GK

Kabul, Feb 8: Saudi diplomat's departure from Kabul amid security concerns has sparked fears that at least three other countries were also planning to close their embassies in the war-torn nation, though the Taliban government and other officials have dismissed such reports, the media reported.

An Afghan Taliban official confirmed that Saudi Arabia has withdrawn its staff, but said the Saudis "have told us that they have withdrawn embassy staff for a week-long training", Dawn news reported.

After Saudi Arabia's "temporary withdrawal" of staff, reports surfaced about the closure of the UAE, Qatari and Russian missions in Kabul.

However, the Afghan official denied rumours about the closure of the UAE's mission, saying that although the country did not have an Ambassador there, several diplomats still run the embassy.

Meanwhile, Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani, the special envoy of Qatar's Foreign Minister, met Taliban ministers on Sunday to discuss a host of "important developments in Afghanistan, especially in politics, economy, development, and education", Dawn reported.

On Monday, a senior Russian official also reiterated that his country had no plans to close its diplomatic mission in Kabul.

Although the US and European countries have yet to reopen their embassies in Kabul, Pakistan was among the handful of countries, including Russia, China, Turkey and Iran, that continued to retain a diplomatic presence there.

Sources in the Pakistan embassy in Kabul also dismissed rumours of an evacuation of diplomats. Still, the country's charge d'affaires in Afghanistan, Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani, who survived an assassination attempt on December 2, 2022, was yet to return to his post.

Official sources insist Islamabad is still waiting for security assurances from the Afghan govt before sending him back, Dawn reported.

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