US to shut down Afghan embassy, strip diplomats of immunity: Sources

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The US government has informed Afghanistan’s diplomats in the country that they will shut down the embassy in Washington and the consulate missions in Los Angeles and New York, sources familiar with the matter tell Al Arabiya English.

The Afghan diplomats will also be stripped of their diplomatic immunity, one source said, according to a memo sent to the Afghan diplomats at the beginning of the week.

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A State Department official told Al Arabiya English that there had been “no change in the status of the Afghan mission or its personnel.”

But a diplomatic source revealed: “They said there would be a shutdown of the embassy [in Washington] and the consulate missions in LA and New York.”

Washington’s move comes less than six months after the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.

The Taliban have not been recognized by much of the international community, including the United States. However, Norway hosted the Taliban this week for meetings with Western officials.

The US, UK, Norway, France, Germany, Italy and the EU met with the Taliban in Oslo.

Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani saw his government collapse on August 15 after he fled the country and the Afghan security forces failed to prevent the Taliban from taking over.

But the diplomats at the Afghan Embassy in the US refused to acknowledge the Taliban and rebuffed all of the group’s attempts of opening lines of communication, Deputy Chief of Mission Abdul Hadi Nejrabi told Al Arabiya English in an interview last month.

Read more: Once-bustling Afghan Embassy in US down to few diplomats

*This has been updated to include a comment sent from the State Department after the original story was published.

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