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Afghan Ambassador to India Resigns Amid Gold Smuggling Scandal

Photo : X / @ZakiaWardak

Afghanistan's Consul-General in Mumbai, Zakia Wardak, resigned amidst accusations of smuggling nearly $2 million worth of gold into India, according to media reports. Wardak confirmed her resignation on her official social media account, citing her decision to step away from her role effective May 5, 2024.

The closure of Afghanistan's embassy in New Delhi in November left Wardak as the country's highest-ranking representative in India following the Taliban's return to power in Kabul. Reports from Indian media revealed that Wardak, along with her son, was detained by financial intelligence authorities at Mumbai airport last month upon arrival from Dubai. They were found to be carrying 25 kilograms of gold, valued at approximately $1.9 million. However, due to her diplomatic immunity, Wardak was not arrested, although the gold was confiscated.

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With Wardak's resignation, thousands of Afghan nationals, including students and businessmen, are left without consular representation in India. Most foreign nations, including India, do not officially recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan but acknowledge them as the de facto ruling authority.

Wardak's statement alluded to the personal attacks and defamation she faced over the past year, reflecting the challenges encountered by women in Afghan society. However, she made no direct mention of the gold smuggling allegations.

While the Taliban authorities have assumed control of several Afghan embassies abroad, some operate on a hybrid system, with the ambassador removed but embassy staff continuing routine consular activities. Several countries, including Pakistan, China, and Russia, have maintained their embassies in Kabul since the Taliban's takeover in August 2021.

May 6, 2024 5:33 p.m. 7507

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