A group of 14-Saudi Arabian diplomats and staff returned to Kabul to resume consulate services, an official of the Islamic Emirate's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
“The role of Saudi Arabia is highly important among the Islamic World countries. Its presence in Afghanistan is very important for us,” said Waliullah Shaheen, Center For Strategic Studies – Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The return of the Saudi diplomats and staff was announced late Tuesday by the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Abdul Qahar Balkhi.
“A 14-member diplomatic team of Embassy of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan returned to Kabul today, 30th November 2021, and resumed consular services for Afghans,” Balkhi said in a tweet. “We welcome them, appreciate this profound step by the Saudi government and view it as start of good relations.”
Political analysts offered views on the return:
“A great number of Afghans live in Saudi Arabia who will return to Afghanistan and therefore there is a need for an office, but it doesn’t mean recognition of the government,” said Tareq Farhadi, a political analyst.
“Saudi Arabia wants to have an important role in Afghanistan because Afghanistan is an important country among the Islamic countries and it has a strategic location. An Iranian delegation visited Afghanistan and the Saudis want to be ahead of Iran,” said Imran Afghan, a political analyst.
Indian media quoted some senior Indian officials who said that discussion was underway over whether Delhi would establish a presence in Afghanistan.
An official also told The Hindu that reopening a diplomatic mission did not indicate that India was granting recognition to the Islamic Emirate.
“Not only India, but many world countries, has requested to return to Afghanistan and reopen their embassies,” Shaheen said in response to the report.
The consulate services of 11 countries, including Iran, Pakistan, China, Russia, Turkey, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Italy are currently open in Kabul.