Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Afghanistan

Newsline: Afghanistan’s diplomat to India resigns

Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India, Dr Shaida Mohammad Abdali, resigned during Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to India. The Ambassador announced his resignation on Twitter, at the end of President Ashraf Ghani’s one-day visit to Delhi. “Serving my country for years in India, I felt the need to return and serve my country from within,” Dr Abdali wrote. According to Indian media, the timing of Dr Abdali’s resignation has strengthened speculation that he has differences with the Ghani government and will run for office on return.



Newsline: Global Affairs Canada intervenes to aid Ottawa police investigation of Afghanistan diplomat’s son

A case being investigated by Ottawa police’s sexual assault and child abuse unit was delayed until police could get permission from the Afghan government to speak to the suspect, the teenage son of a high-ranking diplomat. Under international protocol, Global Affairs Canada had to seek a waiver of diplomatic immunity from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul to allow Ottawa police to question the diplomat’s son. Diplomatic immunity is not usually extended to family members unless the representative is from the senior ranks. This permission through international channels was recently granted. The diplomat’s son has obtained a prominent criminal defence lawyer but has yet to be interviewed by police. The complainant is a Canadian citizen and a high school student, sources tell CBC News. The incident was first reported in an online Afghan news service. If charges are warranted after an investigation, police would once again have to ask Global Affairs Canada to intervene to request a second waiver from Kabul to make an arrest. Ottawa police said they do not comment on open investigations. CBC News has requested comment from the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, but has yet to receive a response. The 1961 Vienna Convention outlines the rules of diplomatic law and prevents host countries from using their laws to pressure foreign representatives. The convention requires diplomats to obey the laws of their host country, but the only punishment permitted is expulsion unless immunity is waived. The most controversial use of diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution involves the 2001 death of Ottawa lawyer Catherine MacLean. MacLean was killed on Jan. 27, 2001, when she was struck by a vehicle driven by a drunk Russian diplomat. Andrei Knyazev had claimed diplomatic immunity after the collision and returned to Moscow within days of the incident. He was later found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Moscow.


Newsline: Pakistan Temporarily Closes Consulate in Afghan Border City

Pakistan has temporarily closed a consulate in neighboring Afghanistan, citing a lack of security and accusing authorities of interfering in the work of the diplomatic facility. The consulate is located in Jalalabad, capital of the eastern Nangarhar province next to the border with Pakistan. Islamabad’s embassy in Kabul in a letter to the Afghan Foreign Affairs Ministry on Friday blamed “undue intervention” of the provincial governor in the functioning of the consulate for prompting it to shut down the diplomatic facility. The letter urged the ministry to see that Governor Hayatullah Hayat “refrain” from undertaking actions “in complete violation” of the international treaties on diplomatic relations. It also requested the restoration of security arrangements Afghan authorities allegedly withdrew earlier this week. “The embassy wishes to inform that the Consulate General will remain closed until the security arrangements are complete to the satisfaction of the embassy,” said the letter. Hayat on Saturday rejected the allegations he was interfering in the internal matters of the Pakistani consulate and accused the foreign mission of insulting Afghans and illegally charging money for processing their visas. “We were not happy with activities of the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad. According to our information, the consulate was charging 5,000 ($40) to 20,000 ($160) Pakistani rupees from Afghans for processing their visas,” he told a news conference in the provincial capital. “We won’t interfere in the internal matters of the consulate. But we also won’t allow anyone to dishonor Afghans outside the consulate and encourage bribes,” Hayat said. Pakistani officials were not available immediately to respond to Hayat’s allegations. Pakistan and Afghanistan issue free of charge visas to each other’s citizens.


Newsline: Afghanistan’s Taliban sources confirm Qatar meeting with senior US diplomat

Taliban officials met secretly with a senior US diplomat in Qatar last week, sources in the group have told the BBC. The face-to-face talks in Doha with Alice Wells, a state department deputy assistant secretary, were “very important”, one Taliban official said. News of the meeting follows a directive from the Trump administration for US diplomats to talk directly with the Afghan militant group. The Taliban have long said that only with the US will they discuss peace. Direct talks with the militants, without Afghan officials present, marks a major turnaround in Washington’s policy as it seeks to end America’s longest war. It comes after an unprecedented three-day ceasefire during Eid celebrations in June that was largely respected by both sides. There have been attacks since, including one on army check points in Badghis province. The meeting was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Two senior Taliban sources confirmed it to the BBC’s Mahfouz Zubaide, in Kabul. They said a six-member delegation was led by Abbas Stanikzai, who heads the group’s political office in Doha.


Newsline: Suicide attack close to Indian consulate in Afghanistan kills 14

Jalalabad, Afghanistan: A suicide attack in restive eastern Afghanistan on Sunday killed at least 14 people and wounded 45, an official said, the second attack in as many days to mark an unprecedented ceasefire. The explosion happened outside the Nangarhar provincial governor´s office in the capital Jalalabad, his spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP. It was also close to the Indian consulate. Khogyani said 14 people had been killed and 45 wounded. An Afghan security source confirmed the suicide attack but gave a lower death toll of at least 10. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.


Newsline: Car bomb explodes near Australian embassy vehicles in Kabul

A car bomb has exploded near Australian Embassy vehicles travelling in Kabul, killing an Afghan civilian. No Australians were injured in the attack, the Department of Foreign Affairs said. “The Australian government extends its sympathies to families and friends of people killed and injured by this attack,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in the statement on Friday.


Newsline: Explosion rocks Kabul near US Embassy

At least two people were killed and seven wounded Saturday in an attack in Afghanistan’s capital for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility. A suicide bomber struck in the diplomatic area of Kabul near NATO headquarters and the U.S. Emassy, Afghanistan Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said, adding that the casualty count could rise.